The idea of linking reports of inappropriate or threatening behavior at school to cash rewards is appalling.

Attitudes about "tattling" aside, reporting incidents that could be dangerous - possession of drugs or alcohol or weapons on campus - should be based on an ethic of responsible citizenship, not narc funds.

Anti-vandalism programs that link graduation celebration funds to incidence of vandalism during the course of high school have proven effective in schools where they've been tried, but in every case, the motive was the good of the school or class community, not individual greed.

Violence in schools is a tragic trend that has exploded on our consciousness since Columbine, and there have been important strides taken across the nation to protect our students from their classmates and themselves.

There is a growing awareness of the roles bullying and other social offenses play in those sorry incidents, and there are programs to prevent such activities.

But giving youngsters cash rewards for acting responsibly sends a damaging message -- "if it doesn't pay me to tell, why should I care?"

We've all heard the horrible stories from places such as New York City where a woman's screams during an attack go unreported because people "don't want to get involved."

Shame on those schools who would put in place programs that promise to engender that attitude.

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