Harrisburg, PA (AP Newswire) – Bullying, self-harm, and suicide are the most common concerns fielded during the first half-year of operation for a new threat reporting system that covers Pennsylvania schools.
The state attorney general’s office says the Safe 2 Say Something program generated more than 23,000 tips between mid-January and the end of June.
The report says about 1,300 tips (about 17 percent) were determined to be pranks.
Keep reading, or click here to read the entire report.
State Senators Vincent Hughes (D-Philadelphia/Montgomery) and Pat Browne (R-Lehigh) praised the results of the Safe2Say Something (S2SS) anonymous threat reporting program following the first annual report by the Office of the Attorney General (OAG) released Thursday.
The OAG reported that 23,494 tips have been received since S2SS began, Jan. 14, 2019, through the end of the fiscal year, June 30, 2019. Nearly 20,000 of the tips received came from the S2SS mobile app, which can be downloaded at no cost for use.
“I am pleased that the Safe2Say Something Annual Report shows the program is having a tremendous impact in its early stages,” Sen. Hughes said. “I am hopeful that our communities continue to embrace Safe2Say Something and use it as a means to protect our schools and get those who may be struggling the help they need.”
Students, educators and administrators have been trained how to recognize the signals and signs of people who may be a risk to hurt themselves or others, as well as how to use S2SS to submit anonymous tips through the reporting system. More than 850,000 Pennsylvania students have been trained to use the S2SS program to date.
“This report makes clear that Safe2Say Something has proven to be an extremely effective tool to report and prevent a variety of potentially harmful situations from affecting our students and schools,” Senator Browne said. “There is no question that this program is contributing to a safer school environment. The success of Safe2Say lies in a caller’s trust that they will remain anonymous and that their tip will be taken seriously and acted upon swiftly.”
The OAG’s office reported the cost of the S2SS for the first fiscal year as $743,428, but the office’s findings prove the tremendous value and effectiveness of the program in helping keep schools safe. One significant finding in the OAG’s report was the fact that the majority of the tips have been focused on students struggling with mental health issues.
“Last year, the General Assembly mandated my Office establish Safe2Say Something, an anonymous reporting system to give students a way to report signs of classmates who may be at risk of hurting themselves or others,” Attorney Josh General Shapiro said. “I am incredibly proud of our team’s work to train more than 800,000 Pennsylvania students and take in more than 23,000 tips since the program’s start in January 2019. The majority of tips received through Safe2Say have been focused on students struggling with mental health issues—that’s why I’m calling on our Legislature to read this report, study the data and act to address the need for increased mental health resources for our kids.”
The breakdown for tips reported from Jan. 14 – June 30 of the initial introduction of S2SS is as follows:
Event types – Total
Bullying/Cyber Bullying – 3558
Cutting/Self-Harm – 2529
Suicide/Suicide Ideation – 2184
Depression/Anxiety – 2121
Drug Use/Distribution/Possession – 1921
Smoking (Tobacco, E-Cig, Vape) in School – 1448
Inappropriate Language/Behavior/Gesture – 949
Threat Against School – 607
General Harassment – 574
Threat Against person – 523
Sens. Hughes and Browne sponsored the S2SS legislation in Senate Bill 1142, which was signed into law as Act 44 of 2018. It required every Pennsylvania school to participate in the program run by the OAG. The OAG worked in partnership with the Sandy Hook Promise to build the S2SS app, website and 24/7 crisis center for Pennsylvanians.