Osceola County School District launches new online school safety effort

Osceola County schools have just rolled out a new webpage to report threats, giving students yet another option to come forward with a potential problem.

OSCEOLA COUNTY, Fla. — Students, teachers and community members in Osceola County have an additional way to report school safety concerns thanks to a new webpage.

The Osceola County School District recently launched the Keep Osceola Safe webpage, which allows anyone to ask a question or report a bullying concern or a threat. The reported information is then forwarded to the district's safety and security office.

It's one way to report a problem, but not the only way. This month, the state launched an app called "FortifyFL" to accept anonymous tips. The app was a response to the Parkland shooting.

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That’s in addition to Crimeline’s SpeakOut Hotline, which has been around for 22 years. The hotline takes anonymous tips through phone, app and webpage for six local districts, and reports an average of between 60-70 tips a month. Those tips peaked after the Parkland shooting.

But with so many options, there are concerns that more isn’t always better.

“How would the parent know exactly which way would be the best to communicate?” parent Eunice Esquilin said.

Barb Bergin, executive director of Crimeline, said having so many options can make things confusing.

“Who do I call? Do I call you about this? Do I call you about that?” Bergin said.

But a district spokeswoman said it doesn't matter where the tips come in, as long as they come in, because one tip could make all the difference when it comes to safety.