Intended as an added layer of safety for Orange school students, the district has launched its Safe Schools Tip Line. In an effort to keep school administrators and local law enforcement officials informed about the possibility of any potential threats to students and schools, administrators are encouraging parents, students, and members of our community to utilize this anonymous service.
The Tip Line, in the upper right corner of the district’s website at oess.org, will be checked Monday through Friday during regular business hours. Orange Police can be contacted at any time at 203-891-2130 and, for emergencies, via 911.
“One of the things that we do is not just look at the structure of the building, but other safety measures,” said Superintendent of Schools Vince Scarpetti. “If any parent, student or any other community member sees or hears something, they may leave an anonymous report. If there is an emergency, you should call the police right away, but this is another layer of safety that we’re talking about,” Scarpetti said. “Safety is always one of our goals. If they feel leery of calling the police, this gives residents a chance to have their concerns heard.”
Once a report is filed, an email goes to Scarpetti, the schools’ IT director and a member of the police department. “If someone is hearing something regarding someone harming themselves, or about a threat to a school, or if they’re seeing something on facebook or social media that doesn’t look right, we want them to feel safe using the tip line,” he said. “We’re trying to look beyond the investment the town has put in our schools with the security monitors and other security measures.”
He said conversations around security and safety are ongoing, and there was an increased focus after the shootings in Parkland, Florida. “We’re trying to be preventative rather than reactive,” he said. “We need to go beyond what we are doing – if there are mental health issues that we’re not aware of, this is a good resource for people to get that information to us.”
“In our mission statement, we say ‘together we will make a difference.’ It’s not just our parents with students who are investing in our future, it’s working with the town, the police department and all residents. They’re all part of that ‘we,’” he said.
Although all tips are made anonymously, administrators urge tippers to please do so in good faith and to leave as many details as possible in the available fields.