New technology allows school threats to be reported by text

Students, teachers and staff can now report threats in Oklahoma schools via text message. Through a partnership between the Oklahoma State Department of Education (OSDE) and the Oklahoma School Security Institute (OSSI), a division of the Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management and Homeland Security (ODEMHS), this state-of-the-art technology will enhance statewide school safety and security to an already existing telephone tip line.

“Students need to feel safe and comfortable for meaningful learning to occur,” said State Superintendent of Public Instruction Joy Hofmeister. “We must do everything in our power to ensure student safety, and we are grateful for this partnership that allows for us to expand the tip line.”

Text a Tip PosterThe text function works in conjunction with OSSI’s telephone tip line. Before the addition of text, reports could be called in at (855) 337-8300 or filed online at tipline.ok.gov. Now, suspicious activity or concerns can be reported by texting “OKS Threat” to 226787. Texting a tip will allow for anonymous, two-way communication, images and video to be sent 24 hours a day. Any incident that could compromise the safety or security of any Oklahoma school or school-sanctioned event should be reported.

“Our office is committed to the safety and security of our students and school personnel across the state,” said Gary Shelton, OSSI program manager. “We are always looking at new technology to enhance our threat reporting capabilities, and we hope this addition to our current tip line will be utilized to better warn our schools of any pending acts of violence.”

The funding for the texting add-on to OSSI’s tip line came from a $250,000 grant awarded to OSDE by the U.S. Department of Justice.