Northwestern Press

Friday, August 23, 2019

Article By: The Press

Thursday, August 8, 2019 by The Press in Local News

State Senators Vincent Hughes, D-7th, Philadelphia/Montgomery, and Pat Browne, R-16th, are praising the results of the Safe2Say Something anonymous threat reporting program following the first annual report by the Office of the Attorney General released on Aug. 1.

The OAG reported 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 for free.

“I am pleased that the Safe2Say Something Annual Report shows the program is having a tremendous impact in its early stages,” 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,” 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 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:

·Bullying/Cyber Bullying: 3,558

·Cutting/Self-Harm: 2,529

·Suicide/Suicide Ideation: 2,184

·Depression/Anxiety: 2,121

·Drug Use/Distribution/Possession: 1,921

·Smoking (Tobacco, E-Cig, Vape) in School: 1,448

·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.

The law requires 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.