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Senate Passes Bill to Fund Safe2Say School Safety Anonymous Tip Program. Will It Help Stop the Carnage?

Senate Passes Bill to Fund Safe2Say School Safety Anonymous Tip Program. Will It Help Stop the Carnage? | Newtown News of Interest | Scoop.it

The state Senate today approved a comprehensive, bipartisan school safety bill that will dedicate significant new resources to help prevent school violence, according to Sen. Gene Yaw (R-23).

 

Senate Bill 1142 would create the School Safety and Security Grant Program - Safe2Say Program - to distribute $60 million in new school safety funding that was included in the state budget. The new funding is in addition to the $10 million dedicated to an existing grant program created in 2013.

 

The Safe2Say Program is modeled after the Safe2Tell program that was created in Colorado in 1999 after the Columbine tragedy. Since its enactment, at least five other states have adopted similar programs, and Florida is currently working with the Colorado Safe2Tell office to set up a tip line there. According to data from Safe2Tell Colorado, 9,163 reports were received during the 2016-17 school year and more than 30,000 reports have been received since 2004. Between the 2016-17 and 2017-18 school years, the number of reports received increased 58%.

 

The legislation requires the Attorney General to administer the act and to create procedures:

 

  • for anonymous reporting of unsafe, potentially harmful, dangerous, violent or criminal activities in schools or the threat of the activities;
  • to ensure that the identity of the individual making a report remain anonymous to any person, including law enforcement and employees of the Safe2Say Program Office;
  • to promptly forward any information received by the program to the appropriate law enforcement agency or school official;
  • to train individuals, such as emergency dispatch centers, local law enforcement and school personnel on appropriate awareness and response; and
  • to develop education materials and promote program awareness to participating school districts.

 

The program will cover emergency and non-emergency reports, and anyone can utilize the reporting mechanism. Colorado has found that the most common tip involves suicide threats but they also receive tips on bullying, drug use, cutting and depression as well as threats to schools.

 

Senate leaders announced that hearings will be scheduled this summer to gather input from various groups regarding additional steps to improve school safety.

johnmacknewtown's insight:

Keeping schools safe requires laws and actions like this, which can be applied immediately. At the same time we should continue to fight for gun safety laws although I have little hope that any progress will be made on that for for many years.

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