Minneapolis to unveil anonymous phone/text tip line to prevent gun violence

A new tip line called Speak Up will let young people in Minneapolis anonymously call or text information to counselors, as a way to report concerns about possible violence.

The new service will be unveiled this morning at Southwest High School.

It is supported by city schools, City Hall and the Minneapolis police,

Organizers say the tip line will help promote violence awareness, education and prevention and let young people play a critical role in keeping friends, classmates and the community safe from violence.

The program was created in 2002 by PAX, a nonprofit organization working to prevent gun violence among children and families, and is already used in Los Angeles, Pittsburgh, San Francisco and New Mexico.

Minneapolis will be the first city to use text messaging technology, which will allow students to send an anonymous text message to the hot line and communicate with a crisis counselor via text.

Professionally trained crisis counselors will respond to texts and telephone calls 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Counselors will compile a report of circumstances from calls or texts and will send the report to the police and school district emergency management staff, if necessary, for further investigation.

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Comments (1)

  1. Submitted by Beryl John-Knudson on 09/14/2009 - 03:28 pm.

    On condition of anonymity?

    It sounds like a simple program, but too simple with no accountability.

    Anonymity; there’s the rub. Whether the callers are youth or adults, the anonymous texter (if that’s the word) could have it’s undesirable weak points…much like call-in bomb scares also evolving from anonymity.

    False reports could be a counselor’s nightmare and student-reported-on, merely a victim. Could be a catch-all for anyone somebody doesn’t like. Just another way for sick tricksters to have an alternative fun-and-games day, hey?

    This methodology was used in Europe in the thirties. It has it’s historic prototypes and it was not good.
    Now we are to promote a similar program, evolving, by degrees?

    Then again, I suppose, ‘texting’ can always be traced…so where is the “anonymity”?

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