Brochures advertise information about the Safe School Helpline near the entrance to Hope School on Wednesday, Oct. 19, 2023, in Hope, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)

Brochures advertise information about the Safe School Helpline near the entrance to Hope School on Wednesday, Oct. 19, 2023, in Hope, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)

School district launches anonymous helpline

Kenai Peninsula Borough School District staff, students and community members can anonymously report concerns affecting district schools

There’s a new way for Kenai Peninsula Borough School District staff, students and community members to anonymously report concerns affecting district schools.

KPBSD’s Safe School Helpline launched on Oct. 2 and allows people to confidentially report threats of violence, self-harm, bullying or illegal activity impacting schools, students or staff. Reports may be submitted via a phone call to 1-800-418-6423 with extension 359, by texting TIPS to 614-426-0240, online at safeschoolhelpline.com or via the Safe School Helpline mobile app.

As reported by Security Voice, Inc., 90% of Safe School Helpline calls are made after school hours. The helpline is available 24 hours per day, seven days per week, and schools receive a verbatim transcription of the call at the beginning of the next school day. The helpline does not ask for a caller’s name.

“The Safe School Helpline is provided to allow students, parents and community members the ability to confidentially submit report threats of violence, suicide, bullying or illegal activity that impact KPBSD schools, students, or staff,” a KPBSD press release says. “This service provides users the opportunity to leave a message or speak with a live crisis counselor for immediate needs.”

Available through the helpline are 24/7 mental health crisis counselors who have achieved suicide counseling qualifications. The helpline’s counseling organization is also accredited with the Commission on Accreditation for Rehabilitation Facilities.

KPBSD Assistant Superintendent Kari Dendurent said earlier this month that the district is working with the Homer, Soldotna, Kenai and Seward police departments, as well as the Alaska State Troopers, to offer the helpline. The district’s leadership team convened in late September, Dendurent said, to discuss how the hotline would be implemented ahead of the rollout.

Dendurent said the service, at $0.85 per student, is expected to cost about $7,225 for an annual agreement, which includes the 24/7 helpline, a digital case management system and promotional materials like brochures and posters.

More information about the Safe School Helpline can be found on KPBSD’s website at kpbsd.org/safe-school-helpline.

Reach reporter Ashlyn O’Hara at ashlyn.ohara@peninsulaclarion.com.

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