Education

PA School Districts Roll Out New Threat Reporting System

Safe2Say Something is an anonymous reporting program launching in all 500 districts in Pennsylvania. Administrators believe it will help them stop tragedies before they happen


School districts all over the area are rolling out a new system designed to help students, teachers and administrators learn how to recognize the warning signs when someone is a threat to themselves or others -- and report it before something happens.

The Safe2Say Something (S2SS) program encourages anyone who's aware of a threat to report it to an adult, or to submit it anonymously through an online website form, hotline phone number or on a mobile app. Click on the video below to see a video produced to promote the program.

Safe2Say Something is state mandated and will be implemented in all 500+ school districts in Pennsylvania through a partnership with Sandy Hook Promise , formed after the school shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in 2012 that killed 26 students and teachers. Pennsylvania's technical schools that draw students from multiple districts, like Parkway West Career and Technology Center, AW Beattie Career Center and Forbes Road Career and Technology Center are also participating.

The plan was introduced last October by PA Attorney General Josh Shapiro, with the goal for S2SS to be in place in all schools by the end of January.

"Pennsylvania students deserve a safe place to learn, free from the threat of violence from classmates or other individuals." PA Attorney General Josh Shapiro

Over the past month teachers and students have had training on how to recognize potential threats and use Safe 2 Say Something to report them. Penn Hills School district, for example, used time during a 2-hour delay to train teachers and staff in grades 5-12, and set aside classroom time for students at the middle and high schools to be trained. Chartiers Valley also set aside time just for S2SS training. "As always, the safety of our students and staff is of utmost importance," the district said on their website when explaining the value of the program.

While preventing school shootings is important, North Hills School District Assistant Superintendent Dr. Jeffrey Taylor believes a program like S2SS will also reduce or prevent more typical school problems like bullying and cyberbullying, give schools a chance to intervene in personal issues like drugs and suicide, and stop school-based conflicts before they become a problem. The district, like others, is stressing social media as a source for information on kids in trouble or looking to cause trouble. "Our students often are aware of the problems their peers are facing," wrote Dr. Taylor in a news release to district families. North Hills and other districts are setting up teams to handle any tips and reports as they come in.

"Kids see what other kids are posting on social media." Dr. Jeffrey Taylor, North Hills School District

Click here to see a full brochure outlining the S2SS program, here for the latest news via their Facebook page, and here to watch a cool video produced for the program. While Sandy Hook Promise has trained 3.5 million students, teachers and others in 50 states in best practices to detect and report signs of potential violence, Pennsylvania is the first location in which Sandy Hook Promise will work across an entire state.

The week of February 25-March 1 has been designated as National Say Something Week. Thousands of schools and youth organizations across the country will participate in activities designed to raise awareness and educate young people and adults of the importance of reporting threats as a way to prevent tragedies and save lives.

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