Mental Health Issues Top the List of Tips on Pennsylvania School Safety App
The Office of Pennsylvania Attorney General has received 28,000 tips on its anonymous school safety tip program that was launched one year ago, and mental health issues is the most event reported. The app is part of the state's Safe2Say Something program.
“Since the Legislature established Safe2Say Something and entrusted the program to my Office last year, we have received nearly 25,000 tips from students across Pennsylvania,” said Attorney General Josh Shapiro. “The majority of those tips have not been about violence toward others, but about students struggling with mental health issues. I’m calling on our Legislature to listen to the students I’ve heard from across our Commonwealth and work to increase funding for mental health resources in our schools. Working with our partner Sandy Hook Promise, my Office will continue to grow this program and make sure kids across Pennsylvania know it is a resource for them.”
The resolution adopted by the Pennsylvania House and Senate also noted: “While initially intended to prevent threats against schools in this Commonwealth, the Safe2Say Something Program has highlighted a variety of behavior and mental health concerns in students… Bullying, self-harm, suicidal intentions, depression and anxiety are the top five event types reported through the Safe2Say Something Program… The Safe2Say Program is considered a national model to protect students, teachers, school employees and the community.”
The Safe2Say Something Anonymous Reporting System was established by the Pennsylvania General Assembly in coordination with Sandy Hook Promise and launched in January 2019. Safe2Say Something empowers students, teachers, school administrators, and others to anonymously report potentially unsafe activities in schools by submitting tips over the phone, online, or through the Safe2Say Something mobile app. Tips are received directly by the Office of Attorney General where they are carefully reviewed and sent to law enforcement, school officials, or an appropriate entity.
More than 850,000 Pennsylvania students received training on how to use the reporting system. In the first six months of implementation, there were 23,494 tips submitted through Safe2Say. The majority of the tips were focused on students struggling with mental health issues. In response, Senator Lisa Baker announced her intention to introduce legislation aimed at improving mental health programs and increasing funding in schools. This Safe2Say Week, the Office of Attorney General will offer testimony in front of the Pennsylvania Senate Judiciary Committee in support of Senator Baker’s legislation.