How do you plan to combat the abuse of Safe2Tell and other anonymous reporting services?

Question prepared for the student-led forum: How do you plan to combat the abuse of Safe2Tell and other anonymous reporting services?

A:

About a week ago, I was able to spend a day at ThunderRidge High School (along with a couple of other candidates) to hear directly from students and this topic is one that came up over and over again.

Safe2Tell was created in the aftermath of Columbine. The Commission’s final report found that “young people are reluctant to report threats due to a student culture that fosters and enforces a ‘code of silence.’” Out of this report, an anonymous process was created — Safe2Tell.

  • In 81% of cases, other people knew about an attack before it took place -- meaning that at least one person had information that the attacker was thinkign about or planning the school attack.
  • In 93% of these cases, the person who knew was a peer (friend, schoolmate, sibling)

Bystander response and reporting is a foundational area for school safety and this is what Safe2Tell is about.

  • 93.8% of actionable tips submitted in good faith for early intervention purposes.
  • Only 2.4% are non-actionable tips received with malicious intent that contain false info to harm, injure or bully another person.
  • The other 3.8% are non-actionable tips received with non-malicious intent

I was fortunate to help put on a conference last Friday for school board members where school safety, violence prevention and mental health were the key topics throughout the day. I talked with a program director for Safe2Tell about how to combat the misuse of the program and whether removing the anonymous nature might be an approach.

According to the Safe2Tell program director:

  • Other states that do not have anonymity in place, receive far fewer tips than we do. Removing the anonymity would likely reduce tips.
  • What we need to do is focus on educating and increasing awareness of the purpose of the program.
  • Enhance efforts to assist schools with cultivating positive cultures and climate.
  • Susan Meek
    published this page in Let's Talk 2019-10-26 08:20:45 -0600

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