Although it was introduced to the Northview community years ago, the Fast 50 program has only started to pick up some buzz during this recent school year. The program, which runs through the organization Silent Observer, “empowers students to keep their school safe and drug free,” by anonymously reporting a range of illegal offenses, Deputy Andrew Kozal said.
Administrators, such as Kozal, believe in, “harboring a doing-what’s-right type of community, whether it be at school or out in the world.” Reporting impending or active crimes through the Fast 50 program is one way students can step up to these expectations.
The offenses reported most often revolve around the use of illegal substances. While the legal punishments may vary, the school’s is typically a suspension, otherwise called an administrative leave.
“I don’t believe using administrative leave is necessarily a deterrent to behavior,” vice principal, Brent Dickerson said. “What it does is it sends home a pretty strong message that we can not tolerate having illegal substances in school. The bigger part is notifying parents and getting the young person the help they need.”
It should be stated that the anonymity of the tipster is protected so the school never even finds out who the tipster is. All action taken by students is completed through Silent Observer who then relays the information received to the school.
Senior Jon Powers has his own opinion on the topic of anonymity though. Having been “Fast Fiftied,” Powers claims that it’s impossible to stay completely anonymous. “It took me maybe a day to find out who ratted me out, so it’s not that anonymous honestly. You can still read people’s expressions and the way they talk to you, and see who’s not around anymore.”
Powers even expressed distress that the Fast 50 program could be more trouble than it’s worth, “People are going to get hurt because of this. Back where I went to school, in Holland, if someone snitched, they got stitches; it was an honest statement.”
It is up to students, themselves, to weigh any potential risks and act as they see fit. “It’s all in the eyes of the beholder,” Kozal said, “Each student has an opportunity to take ownership in their building to create a safe environment for themselves and other students.”