The Wessex Wire

The Student News Site of West Essex Regional High School

The Wessex Wire

The Wessex Wire

OPINION: See Something, Say Something… in a Million Words?

Photo obtained from Sandy Hook Promise
The Say Something program can be found on every student-issued Chromebook in the school.

In recent years, West Essex has utilized an anonymous online reporting system which is accessible to all students through their Chromebook bookmarks. The site provides students with the anonymity they want when dealing with reporting suspicious behavior or incidents. However, the cite’s process when filing a report is both lengthy and too much. 

Following the Sandy Hook School Shooting in 2012, websites like See Something Say Something decided to take action to bring light to violence and prevent it in schools. Schools like West Essex use the system which enables any student to suggest, complain or speak up about something that is making them or others uncomfortable. While the site is a highly beneficial and a valuable attempt at preventing further tragedies regarding violence, there are some adjustments that need to be made. Even if the short snappy name of the site leads users to believe their response will be of that nature, will it really? 

Students can access the website via the Chromebooks’ bookmark tab in the right corner of their screens. Upon opening the website, students are met with a screen where they can write “a tip,” or their concerns. The form includes too many questions for students to respond to. Some of which are asked understandably so, however most are unnecessary. Students willing to make a report would be overwhelmed by all of the information needed and this could lead them to shy away from writing a tip. 

The site lists questions asking for ethnicity, race and physical appearance/clothing. This abundance of questions can be extremely overwhelming for a student who was already nervous to voice their concerns.

The system also provides the user with a Crisis Counselor to follow up the report with further questions. For some students, expecting to simply type their report and move on, this extensive process is all too much. On top of this, anyone who already feels uncomfortable enough to use the platform instead of bringing the problem to administration in-person would probably prefer to have no follow up questions and not to reveal their identity.  The idea of putting out so much information about a person such as their gender or ethnicity could also be uncomfortable for some people as well. 

“I’ve looked at it before and while it seems really beneficial, it was super complicated,” senior Lauren Hain said. “I don’t know if teenagers will want to fill out a complex form of additional information if all they want is to report one thing.” 

Hain’s experience being a student at West Essex for four years has reinforced the concept that the school deeply prioritizes their students’ safety, opinions and needs, but needs to put more effort into perfecting their plans. West Essex added this additional layer of security through this website, however it is not nearly as user friendly or realistic for distressed students as it has the potential to be. The idea is great, but the execution simply isn’t there.

Behind the Bylines
Alexandra Angelo
Alexandra Angelo, Opinion Editor
Alexandra Angelo, is an Opinion Section Editor for the 2024-2025 Wessex Wire. She loves baking, shopping, and spending time down the shore. When she isn’t doing any of those things, you can find her hanging out with friends and family. 
Adelaide Minnella
Adelaide Minnella, Arts & Culture Editor
Adelaide Minnella, but you can call her Adie, is an Arts & Culture Editor for the 2024-2025 Wessex Wire. She loves field hockey, lacrosse, the seasons of summer and fall, baking, cooking, her favorite show is “Friends” and her favorite movie is “10 Things I Hate About You.” Her favorite music artists are Taylor Swift, Noah Kahan, Gracie Abrams and Phoebe Bridgers. On the weekends you can find her babysitting, reading her favorite books, or hanging out with her core group of friends. 
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