Bullying Tipline Aims To Provide A Safer Future
Scandal on the Heath High School basketball team.
Now, the school district is changing the way students and parents can report information involving school safety.
Two members of the basketball team are currently under house arrest, charged in connection to alleged assaults that occurred last year.
The incidents took place between June and November of 2013, and went unreported for nearly half a year.
On December 30, 2013, a parent reported to the Heath basketball coach what students had been hearing for nearly six months. At least two members of the team had assaulted other players by inserting their fingers into their private parts through clothing, while they were restrained.
"In response to the basketball, it could have started out something small, people were embarrassed and it got out of control," said Parent Dwayne Bonham. "And if somebody would have spoke up at the beginning, it may not have gotten where it got to."
Instead, it resulted in the arrest of two players, a 17- and 18-year-old.
The new Heath City Schools Bully/Safety Tipline is an effort to prevent future incidents.
"I guess they're just trying to avoid anything like what's happened in the past here," said Parent Kim Bradley.
Students and parents can make an anonymous report and when they call, they'll get a confirmation number that will allow them to check back for updates and get more information.
District officials will never know their name or phone number.
"What's frustrating about it is when we hear that a student or students are in danger and it's been going on, yet we didn't know about it," Superintendent Trevor Thomas said. "And a lot of times, there's the perception that we did know about it."
Thomas says tips can be aimed at specific students, groups or buildings, and several have already come in.
Parents say while the district can't change the past, the tipline can provide for a safer future. "I'm sure it will be used," said Bonham. "And if it can stop one person, it would be well worth it."
The Heath City Schools Bully/Safety Tipline is (740) 281-2242.
The service costs $345 dollars a year.