Research Mentor(s): Justin Heinze, Assistant Professor
Research Mentor School/College/Department: Health Behavior and Health Education, School of Public Health
Presentation Date: Thursday, April 22, 2021
Session: Session 6 (4pm-4:50pm)
Breakout Room: Room 4
While schools have employed systems for students to report incidents of bullying, drugs, mental health, safety concerns, etc. they are often not anonymous, despite being advertised as so. Often times students are directed to report their concerns to a teacher/counselor directly or to fill out a form of some kind that they ultimately need to deliver to a teacher/counselor, thus defeating the point of “anonymous” reporting. This study aims to investigate how the number and demographics of student reports change when an actual Anonymous Reporting System (ARS) is introduced. This experiment included a school district in Pennsylvania where half of the schools implemented the ARS and taught the students how to use it while the other half of schools carried on with their normal reporting system. At the conclusion of the study, all of the tips were coded and categorized on the basis of type (sexual harassment, drugs, mental health, etc), race, gender, grade/age, and whether or not the victim was the one who reported or if it was a witness. After a careful analysis of the data, we expect to see a higher number of tips related to nonviolent bullying and harassment compared to other types of tips, including violence. This knowledge of how an ARS can be more effective for certain types of tips is part of a growing understanding of how to improve school safety and will lead to new standard legislation and implementation regarding reporting in schools.