By Lawrence Pacheco
Special to The SUN
Safe2Tell has released its annual report for the 2018-2019 school year. The report provides an overview and analysis of tip data submitted to Safe2Tell during the previous school year and includes recommendations on how to improve the program.
From Aug. 1, 2018, through July 31, 2019, Safe2Tell received a total of 22,332 tips. The total number of actionable tips received — excluding test tips, duplicate reports, pranks and hang-ups — was 19,861. This is a 28 percent increase in the number of tips received compared to the 2017-2018 school year.
Tips regarding suicide (3,668), drugs (2,164) and bullying (1,871) continue to be the top threats reported to Safe2Tell. The highest volume of reports were submitted via mobile app (31 percent), followed by mobile browser (25 percent), phone (23 percent) and Web browser (21 percent).
“Safe2Tell is in its 15th year and the record-breaking number of tips in the last school year demonstrates how the program continues to be a valuable resource for school safety throughout Colorado,” said Safe2Tell Program Director Essi Ellis. “We are grateful for the many partners we have in this important work and we’ll continue to collaborate with them to implement improvements to the program to keep schools safe.”
“The Safe2Tell annual report has important data that we will use as we refine our strategies to enhance school climate and safety. There is no one-size-fits-all solution to school safety. Over the last year, Safe2Tell has had an enduring impact in keeping our students safe. The increase in tips shows that students are taking responsibility for the safety of their schools and their friends,” said Attorney General Phil Weiser.
Of the total number of tips the program received during the 2018-2019 school year, school and/or local law enforcement partners determined 541 tips were false (2.4 percent). False tips contain untrue information that are submitted to the program with the malicious intent to harm, injure or bully another person.
Some recommendations in the report to improve the Safe2Tell program based on available data include:
• Provide greater support and training to schools and community partners to prevent instances in which a tipster uses Safe2Tell to bully, harass or injure another student.
• Recommend each school district and Board of Cooperation Educational Services provides Safe2Tell with designated school contact(s) to oversee quality control of tip inquiries; assist in coordinating trainings; and serve as a liaison between Safe2Tell, the local school district and law enforcement.
• Work with and educate law enforcement about the program and encourage more agencies to opt into the Safe2Tell digital platform. Many law enforcement agencies have chosen not to enroll in Safe2Tell’s digital platform and still receive tips by fax.
In accordance with C.R.S. § 24-31-611, the Safe2Tell Annual Report is submitted to the Education and Judiciary Committees of the House of Representatives and the Senate of the Colorado General Assembly.
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 according to state law.
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.
By Lawrence Pacheco