On the one year anniversary of the Safe2Say program, Attorney General Josh Shapiro said “Safe2Say Something PA” has reached over 40,000 tips from across the Commonwealth.
Safe2Say is Pennsylvania’s anonymous reporting system for schools, students and community members.
“Safe2Say Something PA empowers students, teachers, and administrators to anonymously report potentially unsafe activities in schools,” Shapiro said. “In its first year of operation, Safe2Say received 40,382 tips, including 6,847 that we categorized as ‘life-safety,’ meaning a life was somehow in danger.
Shapiro said the success of the program depends on students who trusted the program and sent tips to the website. He also credited the analysts in the crisis management center who process and classify the tips and schools who get the word out about the program.
Safe2Say Something was created following the governor’s approval of Act 44 in 2018. The anonymous reporting system came online on Jan. 14, 2019.
Pennsylvania was the first to deploy Safe2Say statewide and train students and staff in the state’s 500 public school districts.
How the program works
Students and community members can submit tips via PA’s website, www.Safe2Saypa.org; through the Safe2Say Something PA app; or via telephone at 844-Safe2Say (844-723-2729). Most of the 40,382 tips came through the app (32,998). The Safe2Say website accounted for another 6,512 tips, and 872 tips were telephoned into the crisis management center.
Shapiro said most of the tips have been about mental health, not school violence as many had originally expected.
“As I traveled across Pennsylvania to talk to students about Safe2Say, they weren’t peppering me with questions on school shooting drills or metal detectors. They were talking about fellow students who seemed depressed, came to school without lunch, and chronic online bullying,” Shapiro said.
The top five categories of tips received during Safe2Say’s first year:
- Bullying/Cyber Bullying,
- Suicide/Suicide Ideation,
- Drug Use/Distribution/Possession, and
Addressing mental health concerns
Shapiro said the reality that most people who submit a tip to Safe2Say Something PA are about mental health means state officials should do more to address this growing concern.
“We need additional funding to ensure there is at least one mental health counselor in every school building in PA,” Shapiro said. “We must expand mental health services in our schools.”
Pennsylvania’s Safe2Say anonymous reporting system includes a partnership with the Sandy Hook Promise, a national non-profit organization based in Newtown, Conn. The organization formed following the school shooting at the Sandy Hook school in 2012. Sandy Hook’s founders and directors include people whose loved ones were shot and killed in that tragedy.
There are no costs to any school in Pennsylvania to participate in Safe2Say. Funding for the reporting system’s annual $1.6 million budget, including 24/7 staffing and technology, comes from the state’s General Fund.