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Dinniman: School Safety Hotline Off to a Successful Start
HARRISBURG (February 22, 2019) – Pennsylvania’s anonymous school safety reporting system fielded more than 4,900 tips in its first few weeks in operation, state Senator Andy Dinniman announced today.
Of those, nearly 1,400 were considered “life safety” or serious enough for immediate intervention by notifying schools and the local 911 center.
Dinniman, who serves as minority chair of the Senate Education Committee, said the program is already a success in allowing students, parents, teachers and others an avenue to anonymously share concerns with appropriate school officials and law enforcement statewide.
“This program provides students, parents, teacher and community members across the Commonwealth with a streamlined way to report school safety concerns and potential threats,” Dinniman, who was a strong supporter of the legislation that made it possible, said. “Safe to Say Something is an integral part of our wide-reaching approach to school security and safety that empowers the entire school community to prevent violence before it occurs and get help for those who may need it the most.”
Established by the legislature as part of Act 44 of 2018, Safe2Say Something was implemented by the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s Office in partnership with the nonprofit organization Sandy Hook Promise.
It went live on January 14 of this year and began accepting anonymous tips online at www.safe2saypa.org or via a hotline, 1-844-SAF2SAY (723-2729). Tips can also be submitted via the Safe2Say App.
According to Sandy Hook Promise officials, Pennsylvania is the first state to do a comprehensive launch of the program, training schools, students, 911 operators and the team that fields calls at the attorney general’s office.
The program encompasses all K-12 students in Pennsylvania, including charter, private, and vocational-technical schools. Tips are funneled to an around-the-clock call center at the attorney general’s headquarters in Harrisburg. The hotline can be used to report troubling behavior, unsafe school situations, harassment, bullying, mental health issues, threats of violence or suicide, and anything else tipsters deem necessary and appropriate to report.
Callers are assured of anonymity. However, making a false report under the Safe 2 Say Something program is a criminal offense.
According to the attorney general’s office, 3,800 schools are already involved in the program. About 85 percent of all K-12 schools are currently participating, including nearly all of the state’s 500 public school districts.
Several school districts in Chester County, including the West Chester Area School District, held community training meetings to educate parents and students about the program. And in Philadelphia, the state’s largest public school district, the roll-out is underway and expected to be completed next month, according to reports.