News From the Students, For the Students

The Griffin Gazette

News From the Students, For the Students

The Griffin Gazette

News From the Students, For the Students

The Griffin Gazette

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Los Al’s anonymous reporting system: What does this mean for students?

How can students utilize the reporting system and other services provided by the Say Something Program to their benefit?
Sydney Forsyte
The Say Something Reporting System is available to schools all over the country, including Los Al.

LOS ALAMITOS, CA —  Los Alamitos High School has partnered with the Sandy Hook Promise’s Say Something Program in order to prevent potential violence or self-harm at schools. 

The Say Something Program was founded after the tragic shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary in 2012, where 20 first graders and six educators lost their lives. Several grieving families who lost loved ones to the shooting joined together to research how to prevent potential violence at schools. They created a national non-profit organization to help prevent massacres like at Sandy Hook. As of 2023, over 3.3 million people have participated in the Say Something Program.

The program has an anonymous reporting system that operates 24/7, free of charge, in order to provide students with a safe, reliable resource in case of crisis. There are many ways for students to access the system, including an app, website, and hotline. 

 “Administrators receive tips about bullying, cyberbullying, vaping and drug possession/use, potential fights, concern for friends who talk about hurting themselves or suicide, etc.,” said Jerry Friedman, the Director of Safety and Student Service for Los Alamitos Unified School District.

After receiving tips, administrators work with the district office and potentially law enforcement to investigate.

Part of the Say Something Program includes training for district and school staff and students on how to use the Say Something Reporting System. Additional video trainings for students teaches them how to recognize warning signs, say something to a trusted adult, and grow a community of “up-standers” who look out for one another. Students were able to view some of these training videos this year during an assembly period with their fourth period classes.

The importance of clear information about the Say Something Reporting System was evidenced by a recent incident that took place at Los Alamitos High School. A threat that was later deemed to be non-credible, referencing the date Sept. 22, was discovered on the wall of one of the girl’s bathrooms on Los Al’s campus. An initial report of the vandalism by a student to the main office was followed by a stream of tips via the Say Something Reporting System. 

Posters advertising the program have been posted around campus in classrooms. (Francesca McCall Hokama)

Unfortunately, many students received false information about the event as rumors spread through the student body.

“I heard that a girl went to the principal’s office and told the principal about it. I heard that she got in trouble because the rumor was fake,” said a sophomore who asked to remain anonymous.

When asked to comment on this rumor, Mr. Bowen, Assistant Principal of Student Services and Attendance, was adamant that this was not the case.

“No one gets in trouble for reporting something. If someone got in trouble for reporting something, then no one would ever report anything. That would violate the whole point of the system that we have,” Mr. Bowen said. “I’m not sure where that rumor came from, but it’s absolutely not true.”

While the investigation is ongoing, Mr. Bowen was able to share at this point that the threat has been deemed non-credible. However, the district and school are still taking it seriously, utilizing all of the resources available to investigate the threat, including the district office and local and county law enforcement. This Friday, Sept. 22, the date referenced in the non-credible threat, there will be increased security on campus for added caution. 

“The Los Alamitos Police Department has increased officers, including command staff members, present on our campus during the morning drop-off and throughout the day to provide enhanced security and reassurance,” said Principal Kraus in a school-wide email sent through ParentSquare yesterday. 

Since it was instated at Los Al, many students have utilized the hotline to potentially save lives. Last year alone, over 50 tips were reported, and this year almost 20 have been sent in. Without a safe place to share potential dangers to other students, threats like these could become real.  

Fortunately, this sort of thing rarely happens. But it does happen sometimes, and we have to take it seriously.

— Mr. Bowen

The Say Something hotline ensures that Los Al can take immediate action against threats, whether credible or not, to protect the safety of students.

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About the Contributors
Sydney Forsyte
Sydney Forsyte, Editor | Co-anchor
Sydney Forsyte is a junior at Los Alamitos High School. This is her second year in Journalism, and, last summer, she participated in the New York Times Summer Institute. This year, she wants to focus on her role as an editor more in order to shape other people’s voices. Sydney enjoys reading, writing, traveling, and baking. She is also a part of a few clubs, including MUN, the Teens for Climate Club, and Emerging Leaders Club. Her favorite subject is English, and she hopes to write more reviews and profiles this year.   
Francesca McCall Hokama
Francesca McCall Hokama, Staff Writer
Francesca McCall Hokama is a freshman starting her first year of journalism. She loves music from artists like Tyler The Creator, David Bowie, and Kendrick Lamar. A food she enjoys is shrimp scampi pasta from her favorite restaurant, Hoff's Hut. A subject Francesca enjoys is English. She wants to make a change and write about things that are not as known at Los Al. In her free time, you can find her riding her bike around with her friends.
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  • C

    ChristineSep 22, 2023 at 10:14 pm

    As a Los Al HS parent, thank you for reporting on such an important issue to ensure student safety with such clarity and professionalism.

  • L

    lfranzenSep 21, 2023 at 7:40 am

    I appreciate the even, factual article you present here. I hope many students read it to become aware of how the reporting system works.