Texting service lets students report suspicious behavior

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KSFY) - Many people are constantly on our phones -- texting, calling or checking social media. Schools and authorities are using those devices already in students' hands to help keep them a little safer while in school.

“To give them just one more avenue to make that communication, make that contact in such a serious situation is outstanding,” Sioux Falls School District Assistant Superintendent James Nold said.

If you see something, say something. A new program is putting a new spin on the ability to do just that.

“To have a program like this that fits right in the wheelhouse of how they communicate, I think is an excellent opportunity for us to get more information in a more timely manner,” Sioux Falls Police Department Capt. Loren McManus said.

Project Stand Up Safe School launched in August. It gives students, parents and teachers the ability to safely and anonymously report suspicious behavior through text.

“We've had different things that have happened in the community that’s still been shared with us," Nold said. "Usually it’s been done via a phone call. I think as more and more people become aware and become comfortable, this may be a very advantageous way to communicate.”

Simply text "safe" to 82257. The tipster will then be asked a series of questions including the people they are concerned about and their behavior.

“We can’t be everywhere all the time, so this is another opportunity for them to be able to get us information again in a timely and efficient manner so we can hopefully prevent something from happening,” McManus said.

It is giving students the power to make positive change, with just a simple text.

“Individuals that know are quite often not the administrators, and it may not be the teachers," Nold said. "It’s going to be students that have heard something from other students, friends or on social media. So to have this avenue there for them to be able to communicate that with us, I think that can only benefit us.”

Since the program launched in August, the tip line has received 31 tips throughout South Dakota about drugs, bullying, suicide and school safety.

However, none of those tips came from the Sioux Falls School District.