Special to The SUN
Safe2Tell released its monthly report recently. In August, the program received 1,503 tips, a 75 percent increase in monthly tip volume compared to August 2018. Suicide threats (235) and drugs (114) continued to be the top tip categories reported to the program. The Safe2Tell school year runs from Aug. 1 of this year until July 31, 2020.
From July to August, Safe2Tell nearly tripled the number of tips. This increase is likely due to students returning to school. Of the 1,503 tips received, 139 were instances of duplicate reports, indicating a healthy reporting culture and increased comfort with the tool as students return to school.
“We are already seeing an uptick in reports as the new school year begins. This demonstrates not only that students are aware of Safe2Tell, but also that they are increasingly comfortable using it to report concerns,” said Attorney General Phil Weiser, whose office oversees Safe2Tell. “The beginning of the school year is a welcome opportunity to reflect on past program successes and help educate students and communities on how to use the tool effectively and appropriately to make our schools safer and our students heard.”
In addition to suicide threats and drugs, tips regarding bullying (98) and threats (81) rounded out the top reporting categories. False tips remain at approximately 2.5 percent of all tips submitted. False tips are those that contain untrue information and are submitted with the intent to harm, injure or bully another person.
“This September marks Safe2Tell’s 15th anniversary serving as Colorado’s anonymous reporting line for safety concerns. It is terrific to see the program’s growth since 2004, when Safe2Tell received 102 annual tips and has since increased to nearly 20,000 tips during the 2018-2019 school year,” said Safe2Tell program director Essi Ellis. “These growth statistics are a testament to the effectiveness of statewide training and awareness efforts as well as the support Safe2Tell receives from our school, law enforcement and mental health partners.”
In August, anonymous tips from students and other individuals successfully helped prevent incidents of self-harm and illegal activity. For example:
• A report was received regarding a possible suicidal individual. Law enforcement conducted a welfare check and a safety plan was enacted.
• A report was received involving possession of an illegal substance. Law enforcement investigated and a minor was cited.
• A tip was received involving unsafe driving. Police determined the location of the incident was not near a school and the vehicle did not contain any minors.
Safe2Tell is a successful violence intervention and prevention program for students to anonymously report threats to their own, and others’, safety. Safe2Tell is not an emergency response unit; it is a conduit of information for distributing anonymous tips to local law enforcement, school officials and other appropriate responding parties. State law mandates that local law enforcement and school districts follow up on each tip to determine an appropriate and timely response.
To make a report, individuals can call (877) 542-7233 from anywhere, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Reports also can be made at Safe2Tell.org or through the Safe2Tell mobile app, which is available on the Apple App Store or Google Play.
Special to The SUN