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Student art, for a cause

If you want to get a teenager's attention, sometimes you have to see through their eyes. It also doesn't hurt to be able to speak their language. Thanks to the work of students at South High School, Fargo police have a new eye-grabbing poster the...

Taylor Savageau

If you want to get a teenager's attention, sometimes you have to see through their eyes.

It also doesn't hurt to be able to speak their language.

Thanks to the work of students at South High School, Fargo police have a new eye-grabbing poster they hope will get more students to use cell phones to text message crime tips to the Text-A-Tip program.

"If we get 20 texts and one is good, it's worth it," School Resource Officer Chris Potter said Tuesday, during the unveiling of the winning poster at South.

South graphics arts students took on the job of redesigning the Text-A-Tip posters. They said the old posters, despite their bright orange paper, were bland and blended into the background.

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The winning entry by senior Taylor Savageau features a hand holding a cell phone on a black background. The Text-A-Tip information is in eye-grabbing blue type with a white outline. The poster is completed with the school's bear paw emblem.

Savageau is happy something he did for a fun challenge could make others safer.

"It relates to the times. The kids are into cell phones," Savageau said.

"These kind of 'pop' and get your attention," said senior Justin Meche, pointing to the design entries.

Senior Adam Schroeder said the anonymity of texting should increase participation. "People text every day. ... They feel comfortable doing it."

South's voice mail and text tip-lines are rarely used, Potter said. With more than 1,500 students and 200 staff, South is as big as a small city, with just as many problems, Potter said.

He hopes better awareness of Text-A-Tip can head off drug and alcohol problems, threats of violence, and prevent or solve thefts and fights.

"Knowledge is power. If we don't know about it, we can't do anything about it," he said.

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Students are prohibited from using cell phones in the halls and classrooms during the school day, but Potter said they can go to entryways or outside to call or text message. He said if there's an emergency, no student would be punished for using their phone to call for help.

The South High version of the tip line poster should be ready in two to three weeks, Potter said. By mid-April, all of Fargo's middle and high schools will have posters customized with school-specific tip line numbers.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Helmut Schmidt at (701) 241-5583

Helmut Schmidt is a reporter for The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead's business news team. Readers can reach him by email at hschmidt@forumcomm.com, or by calling (701) 241-5583.
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