Local News

Cumberland Students Can Use Internet to Help Prevent Violence

Posted October 5, 1999 7:00 a.m. EDT

— Everyone wants children to be safe at school, and schools inCumberland Countyare doing something different to prevent violence. Their plan hinges on e-mail.

No one likes to be known as a tattletale, and that is the concept behind a brand new program involving student resource officers atCumberland County schools.

If students do not want to report a crime in person, they can just e-mail an officer.

Student Resource Officer Neelis Smith is always looking for new ways to prevent violence in schools.

With a click of the mouse, he has found one. Students can now talk with him over the Internet.

"They're going to use it. Students will talk," said Smith.

The Cumberland County Sheriff's Office has given all school resource officers and DARE officers e-mail addresses.

On the Sheriff's Web page, there is also a new school resource officer chat room. Without being identified, students can tell a deputy about illegal activities on campus or express other safety concerns.

"For the ones who are reluctant because of their size or don't want to personally get involved, this is an avenue to get involved without being afraid of any kind of repercussions," said Sgt. Kenneth Williams of the Cumberland County Sheriff's Office.

The idea came from the School Violence Task Force formed after theColumbine High School shootings.

Student Michael Blanks thinks it will make his school safer.

"People want to do good but don't want to be known for it. It's like they might be telling on their friends but still want to do the right thing," said Blanks.

The program is also open to parents, teachers and staff in Cumberland County.