Broward students are getting a reminder from school officials: "You have the power to make a difference. Use it!"
In the wake of three recent attacks on students, the School District launched a new campaign on Wednesday to boost its program that allows people to anonymously warn of threats or impending violence via phone, text or the Web.
"It's not just the kids. It's the teachers, the bus drivers and the cafeteria workers who are around different places and hear things," Superintendent James Notter said.
He said the district doesn't need to create new programs to prevent violence. Instead, people must use the programs already in place.
Violent crimes on Broward campuses have increased in the past year, with six cases reported for every 1,000 students. There were roughly four incidents of battery, sexual battery, robbery, kidnapping or homicide per 1,000 students the year before.
The district on Wednesday also showed a new video that will be broadcast in all schools. In it, Notter and School Board Chairwoman Jennifer Gottlieb remind students and staff to use the Silence Hurts program to report bullying, weapons, drug use or threats.
"Our goal is the prevention of bullying and violence in our schools and our community," Gottlieb says during the seven-minute video. She mentions the bullied Massachusetts teen who committed suicide, as well as the burning of Michael Brewer by his Deerfield Beach Middle classmates and the beating of Josie Lou Ratley at the same campus.
"Silence is no longer an option," Gottlieb said.