In May 2023, the U.S. Department’s Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) and the U.S. Secret Service (USSS) published a toolkit with strategies to help schools. Titled Improving School Safety Bystander Reporting: A Toolkit for Strengthening K-12 Reporting Programs, the toolkit aims to provide schools with actionable, practical, and cost-efficient steps toward preventing harm or acts of violence and focuses on five strategies for schools to employ. They are:
1. Encourage bystanders to report concerns for the wellness and safety of themselves or others.
2. Make reporting accessible and safe for the reporting community.
3. Follow-up on reports and be transparent about the actions taken in response to reported concerns.
4. Make reporting a part of daily school life.
5. Create a positive climate where reporting valued and respected.
According to the toolkit, the willingness of bystanders to come forward with concerns for the wellness and safety of themselves or others is a key component of student health and violence prevention efforts in kindergarten through 12th grade (K12) schools. The CISA-USSS K-12 Bystander Reporting Toolkit is designed to help community leaders create tailored, customized approaches to encourage reporting that meet the needs of their unique communities.
To access the toolkit, click here.