‘Say Something:’ How schools in Union Co. are using anonymous reporting system as CMS plans post-Christmas launch

The tool is part of Sandy Hook Promise and encourages students to submit anonymous tips if they see bullying, weapons, fights, harmful behaviors, threats, and more.
Published: Dec. 15, 2021 at 4:45 PM EST|Updated: Dec. 15, 2021 at 6:39 PM EST
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MONROE, N.C. (WBTV) - We’ve all heard the term, “if you see something, say something,” and school leaders say it’s needed now more than ever with growing concerns of violence on school campuses.

In December 2019, Union County Public Schools started using the nationally recognized reporting system “Say Something.” There have been about 400 tips since they implemented the system.

The tool is part of Sandy Hook Promise and encourages students to submit anonymous tips if they see bullying, weapons, fights, harmful behaviors, threats, and more.

If you need to fill out a tip form, click here. You can also download the app or call the 24/7 anonymous tip line at 1-844-5SayNow.

What we want to do is we want these kids to come up and say something. If they’re concerned the least little bit, just like the general public, if you believe any crime is occurring or any criminal activity is in your area we ask you to call 911,” said Union County Sheriff’s Office Lieutenant James Maye.

Union County Sheriff’s Office works hand in hand with UCPS to investigate any potential threats and concerns.

Late Wednesday afternoon, a Piedmont Middle School student used the “Say Something Anonymous Reporting System” app and social media to claim something involving a gun would happen on the Piedmont High and/or Middle School campus Thursday.

Related: Student charged with felony following false threats at Union County school

Union County deputies and school district staff immediately began investigating the threat by reviewing school surveillance footage and conducting interviews with the reporting student.

The investigation continued late into Wednesday evening and deputies were unable to corroborate any of the statements provided by the reporting party or the circumstances surrounding the threat reported by the student.

On Thursday morning, deputies reinterviewed the student who they say ultimately confessed to fabricating the threat.

The student was charged with felony making a false report concerning mass violence on educational property.

The suspect’s name will not be released due to his age.

Maye says they take all reports very seriously and conduct multiple interviews and review surveillance footage at schools.

“Let us know if you see something that makes you feel uncomfortable or scared. We want to look into it, we want to treat every case seriously and ensure they can learn in a safe environment,” Maye said.

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools has a district-wide School Safety Work Group. District officials said this is a team of CMS personnel from a variety of departments, including senior leaders. The group is discussing and evaluating all options for addressing safety in CMS schools.

Related: Group evaluating options for addressing safety in CMS schools

On Tuesday, Superintendent Earnest Winston announced the “Say Something” anonymous reporting system will launch after winter break.

“Our staff needs to be trained to be able to properly handle and to act responsibly. That training has begun and will be completed in time for us to adequately staff and to respond appropriately, immediately following winter break,” Winston said.

Law enforcement agencies in Charlotte have also investigated numerous threats at multiple CMS middle and high schools this school year.

To read and review the CMS Safety protocols, click here.

All tips are anonymous and law enforcement wants students to know their voice matters and it’s not snitching - but responsible reporting.

“It’s not snitching at all to come to law enforcement and let somebody know, you may save somebody’s life by coming and using these systems that we have in place to report this activity,” Maye said.

Both Say Something and the law enforcement want to make it clear, you can face criminal charges for deliberately filing a false report, making threats, and using these tools to harass people.

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