New district reporting system allows students’ voices heard, faces hidden


Carina Wang

The Palm Beach County district develops a hotline so reports of potential dangers go to a central location rather than an individual school. “We want students to feel safe and comfortable to make a report,” Summer Bendfelt, guidance counselor said.

Students were able to speak up and stand up when reporting possible threats against students through the anonymous reporting system in Palm Beach County. They were able to report on their phone or through a simple paper.
“The goal is to put a stop to bullying, make students feel safe and welcomed coming to school,” Summer Bendfelt, guidance counselor, said.
According to flyers from the district about the report system, students can report any bullying, abuse, mistreatment, harassment, threat or intimidation. They would call 561-982-0900 which was a district wide hotline. Students also had the option to scan a QR code present on the flyer to fill out a form.
“It’s important for students to be able to report without fearing retribution or that they’ll be ostracized for reporting,” Shawn Henderson, guidance counselor, said.
Henderson oversaw Bak’s Anonymous Drop Box that was located at Student Services. The box also allowed students to report. Henderson said she would view the notes and if a name was reported, then she hands the note to the appropriate assistant principal.
“Many times, they will call the student whose name’s on the note to their office to speak to them and they never end up revealing the name of the student who reported it,” Henderson said.
The anonymous report system was created after the events of the Parkland shooting and to further try to put an end to bullying. The system would allow students to have their voices heard safely.
“School should be a safe and comfortable place for everybody,” Henderson said, “If there is something or someone that is preventing school from being safe and comfortable for them, they should report it so that we can help.”