Summerville High School students encouraged to snitch on classmates for money
April 24, 2014 at 9:49 PM EDT - Updated July 21 at 12:55 PM
SUMMERVILLE, SC (WCSC)
Summerville Police say, in the last month, there's been an unusually high number of students charged with having guns or drugs at Summerville High. The Dorchester District 2 School District credits an incentives program designed to reward students who turn in heir fellow classmates.
"Rewarding good behavior," said Mike Turner, DD2 Security Coordinator. "It's received very well by the students."
Summerville High School Students are encouraged to turn in their fellow classmates if they suspect they're carrying drugs or weapons on campus. Turner says students can go to school officials, privately, and if their suspicions are true, they receive a cash reward.
"Once they do the investigation on it, they give them $100 reward for snitching," said Alyna Santiago, former SHS student.
Santiago says her younger sister is a freshman at Summerville High and has had friends called in to the office based off accusations from fellow students.
"I feel like that's going to cause a lot of drama and a lot of fights and stuff have already broken out because of it," said Santiago.
Some worry it could backfire and lead to problems between students.
"I don't think a principal should pay a student to tattle on another student," said Mercedes Kelly, former SHS student.
"I think if the student that found out whoever turned him in, I think absolutely there would be animosity there and that could lead to another thing," said Donna Pratt, parents of SHS student.
When money is involved, Pratt says another concern is truthfulness. Others Live 5 spoke with echoed this concern.
"I think it could be abused," said Edward Link, parent and Summerville resident.
"That could lead to people just trying to get money, falsifying on other kids," said Kelly.
Turner says while the school cannot determine a student's intent, they're not rewarded unless it's found to be a legitimate issue.
The amount rewarded is decided on by Principal Kenny Farrell. Turner says the amounts range from level of threat. Turner says a tip involving a weapon will get a student a bigger reward, but specific amounts could not be provided.
Turner says the reward money comes from the Parent Teacher Student Association.
Pratt says she doesn't agree with PTSA funds being used for this and also wants the school to keep parents better informed.
"I'm a little surprised because I didn't know anything about it," said Pratt. "I've never seen a letter, I've never seen an email."
Officials with Dorchester District 2 tell us they support this program, but it's up to each principal to decide whether to use it. The program has been around for years, but Principal Farrell just recently reminded his students of it. Capt. Rogers with the Summerville Police Department says since Farrell's reminder, the two resource officers on the school's campus have seen a spike in tips coming in.
Turner says this program is a variation of the anonymous tipline strategy that Crimestoppers tip lineut the school is not affiliated with that crime fighting organization.