This final technical report reviews a project aimed at understanding the prevalence, variability, and effectiveness of tip line technology in schools as a strategy for identifying and responding to threats of school violence.
The authors of this report describe a research project that was designed to describe the national prevalence and characteristics of school safety tip lines and to develop lessons learned on successful implementation approaches, by conducting a case study with the SafeOregon tip line. The three main project goals were: to describe the prevalence and variability of tip line technology in public middle- and high-schools across the U.S. through a national survey of school administrators; to evaluate the relationship between tip line technology implementation and safety by augmenting the national survey data with publicly available data on student disciplinary and school safety outcomes from the Department of Education’s Civil Rights Data Collection (CRDC); and to assess the SafeOregon tip line implementation experiences, outputs, and costs through an in-depth case study in Oregon. The national survey of school administrators showed overwhelming support for tip lines, suggesting that they improved awareness of school safety issues and improved their ability to respond to a diverse set of issues such as violent attacks, drug use, and self-harm. The authors’ analysis of tips submitted to Oregon’s SafeOregon about potential threats or school attacks showed that those submissions followed reporting, and they found that events occurring outside the immediate school service area can have an impact on the tip line reporting system; these peaks can be anticipated to allow appropriate allocation of staff and resources.