HUNTLEY, IL – Huntley 158 has developed and launched a brand new Student Helpline for all students and parents to report instances of bullying, mental health concerns and unsafe situations in schools. The platform, which was customized in partnership with SmartSocial, allows for two-way communication between staff and students via text messaging.
The resource was created in an effort to modernize and improve communication surrounding student safety, while providing students with an accessible and easy way to get in touch with a trusted staff member in their building.
The district has crafted four unique phone numbers connected to the Helpline. Huntley High School, Marlowe Middle School and Heineman Middle School operate with their own unique number, while all five elementary schools and the district’s preschool program will utilize a district-wide number.
By texting the Helpline, students will be connected to a trusted staff member or administrator in real time. Staff can then connect students with appropriate resources, respond to a safety concern in a timely manner, or investigate circumstances that may be impeding a student’s ability to learn. The platform has been created to ensure students’ privacy and encourage a productive dialogue between students and staff.
“This resource really modernizes the way our staff and students can communicate about safety in schools,” said Dr. Scott Rowe, superintendent of Huntley 158. “Based on the needs of our families and community, we recognized the importance of elevating our existing district tip line to combat bullying, monitor school safety and address concerning behaviors online. Through our partnership with SmartSocial, we were able to prioritize two-way dialogue and create an innovative platform that is shaped around the ways our 21st century students communicate every day.”
Contact information for the Helpline is displayed throughout each Huntley 158 building using helpful QR codes. Students can scan the QR code to craft a text or save the number as a contact in their phone for use at a later date.
“Not a lot of people like to talk about their feelings,” said Marco Stawski, a junior at Huntley High School. “But if they know they have a trusted adult that they can talk to, they’ll make sure to use that resource.”
To access the Huntley 158 Student Helpline, parents and members of the school community can visit the district’s website.
“We are committed to a safe school environment and this is a phenomenal tool that I hope our students will use to connect with us so that we can work together to keep our schools safe,” said Rowe.