Mobile app available for Polk students, staff

Published 2:18 pm Wednesday, February 19, 2020

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A new mobile app available to Polk County Schools offers students and staff a means to report potential safety issues and threats.
At its February meeting, the Polk County Board of Education learned more about the implementation of the Say Something Anonymous Reporting System (SS-ARS). Created and sponsored by the Sandy Hook Foundation, North Carolina government officials purchased the system for the state’s middle and high schools and is assisting the rollout process.
Polk County Schools was staged in the second phase of implementation and students and staff recently participated in training for the system, process and phone application.
“The safety of our students and schools is of paramount importance to us,” said Polk County Schools Superintendent Aaron Greene. “We are fortunate to have a state-funded, easy-to-use and effective tool that gives our students and community another way to get important information to the proper officials.
“We thank our students and community for taking care of each other and saying something when someone needs help.”
Polk County students initially received training on how to spot warning signs of potential issues and threats. The second portion of the training urged students to take the comments or signs seriously. Finally, students were encouraged to say something to a trusted adult or report it via the system.
Students or other concerned parties can make contact personally with a school official, use the phone app, online Say Something portal or call 1-844-5SAYNOW (1-844-572-9669). The system is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year and is completely anonymous.
If the submitted concern is life-threatening, those calls are routed to the appropriate emergency services and school officials are notified for support and follow-up. For issues that do not require immediate intervention, school officials are notified and given the information so action can be taken. The training also asks students to use the system for the right reasons and not send in false or prank messages.  
The existing Polk County Schools Tip Line (828-894-7020) will continue to be available and monitored for the reporting of concerns regarding any school or students. Interested parties can learn more about SS-ARS at  
Other highlights from the February school board meeting:
• Students from the Saluda Elementary Lego Robotics Team gave the board a brief presentation on their championship season and how Lego robotics helps build confidence and an appreciation for teamwork and effort in achieving goals.
• The board approved Finance Officer Debbie Lovelace’s recommended budget amendment for February. Superintendent Greene noted there is still not a budget for 2019-2020 and there is a possibility that no budget will be approved for another calendar year. The Board agreed to meet on March 16 at 3:00 p.m. for a budget workshop for the 2020-2021 school year.
• Accountability and Technology Director Dave Scherping gave a brief testing update and an update on the HVAC project at Polk County High School, informing the board of the ongoing work in securing a design for the project and the necessary steps to gain project approval and financing.
• Greene informed the board of the development of the Western Region Education Service Alliance response to State Board of Education Chair Eric Davis’ request for feedback on the Leandro lawsuit. Significant funding increases will be necessary for North Carolina to meet the recommendations made by Judge David Lee.
• The board approved Policy 4240, “Child Abuse and Related Threats to Child Safety,” on second reading  


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