- Penn-Delco School District
It's been nearly a year since the Safe2Say Something program has been available to students in Penn-Delco and the entire state of Pennsylvania. In 2018, the General Assembly of Pennsylvania passed Act 44, which mandated the Office of Attorney General to establish the Safe2Say Something (S2SS) anonymous reporting system and required every Pennsylvania school entity to participate in the program by January 14, 2019.
Developed by Sandy Hook Promise, a national non-profit committed to creating safe schools and communities through their four evidenced-based Know the Signs intervention programs, Safe2Say Something is a youth violence prevention program run by the Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General. The program teaches youth and adults how to recognize warning signs and signals, especially within social media, from individuals who may be a threat to themselves or others and to “say something” BEFORE it is too late. With Safe2Say Something, it’s easy and confidential to report safety concerns to help prevent violence and tragedies.
All 500 of Pennsylvania’s public school districts are registered with the Safe2Say Something Program. Since the launch of the Safe2Say Something Program on January 14, 2019, a total of 998 schools or school districts have registered to train their students, through either self-led trainings, an in person trainer from Sandy Hook Promise, or using an interactive video. The number of students that received Safe2Say Something training, from January to June, totaled 864,333.
Ms. Amy Bell, Supervisor of Special Education at Penn-Delco encourages students to turn to a parent or school counselor when they are concerned about their fellow students. In the absence of these, there is Safe2Say.
"We encourage students to reach out to a trusted adult and/or counselor whenever they or someone they know is feeling like they want to hurt themselves or others through verbal, physical or digital means," she said. "When a trusted adult is not available, Safe2Say Something is an anonymous reporting system that allows students and parents to anonymously report a concern 24/7 before it is too late."
Ms. Bell noted that the mobile app is something all students can keep on their phones just in case.
From January 14, 2019 through June 30, 2019 the tip line received 23,494 tips from students across the commonwealth. More than 3500 tips were related to bullying and cyber bullying, 2500+ for cutting/self harm, and another nearly 2200 for suicide or suicide ideation.*
Reports can be received by the Safe2Say Something Program in 3 ways. A report can be submitted via the Safe2Say Something mobile application, which is available for download. Reports can also be submitted through the Safe2Say Something website, as well as calling the hotline and speaking to an investigative analyst directly. The majority of tips from in 2019 came through the mobile app.
Data grouped by intermediate unit shows that schools covered by the Delaware County Intermediate Unit tracked 565 tips during the measuring period. The Chester County IU recorded 1590.**
The majority of tips received by Safe2Say Something have not been about students making violent threats to their school or to their classmates. Instead, they have been focused on students struggling with mental health issues. Note these numbers tracked through June of 2019, long before COVID-19 hit our communities.***
Superintendent Dr. George Steinhoff believes Safe2Say Something is another layer of protection for our students during a very difficult time of additional stress and change.
"The district stands ready to help our students whenever they face serious struggles," he noted,"but we first need to know who needs our attention to offer those supports. Safe2Say Something provides a safe avenue to get that info to our attention if a trusted adult is not available. PDSD students know to use the resource only for true serious or emergency concerns and they have shown a mature response to the program since it became available."
** 2018-2019 Safe2Say Something Annual Report
*** 2018-2019 Safe2Say Something Annual Report