Bentonville Schools Partner With DHS For “See Something, Say Something” Campaign

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BENTONVILLE (KFSM) -- Bentonville Public Schools has partnered with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to provide a confidential tip line to students who want to report any perceived danger.

The partnership, launched Monday (Oct. 23), is part of DHS' See Something, Say Something campaign.

DHS says the campaign helps raise public awareness of the indicators of terrorism and terrorism-related crime, as well as the importance of reporting suspicious activity to state and local law enforcement.

The district's board of education approved the addition of Steve Vera, as district police officer and liaison during a meeting on Monday (Oct. 23). Vera, a retired Bentonville police officer will work with emergency responders, along with conducting staff training and campus investigations. Vera will also monitor the tip line.

Bentonville Schools, in collaboration with the Bentonville and Centerton police departments, will also implement random K9 patrols at its two high school.

On Wednesday (Oct. 25), officers combed through the interior of Bentonville High School (BHS) along with the school parking lot. This was the first and only announced sweep taking place, others will be random.

"We're just trying to create awareness for the kids," said Cpl. John Loncarevic, BHS resource officer. "[They] understand that we are being proactive and getting out in the schools, hoping to prevent any kids from bringing any types of narcotics on campus."

In addition to these two efforts, teachers across the district are highlighting Red Ribbon Week in their classrooms.

While this grassroots campaign was initially organized to prevent drug abuse, Bentonville teachers are incorporating significant themes such as bullying and personal safety into this week’s conversations.

On Friday (Oct. 27), Attorney General Leslie Rutledge will visit Bentonville West High School, where she plans to launch her Prescription for Life program.

Rutledge said earlier this summer the program is a free, unique education initiative aimed at teaching Arkansas high school students about the dangers of prescription drug abuse and how to prevent it.

The tip line can be reached at 367-8080.