Safe2Tell Colorado’s December numbers showed an increase in participation from the previous year, with a 25% increase in tips received from Aug. 1 through Dec. 31, 2019, compared to the previous school year. Mesa County Valley School District 51 showed a similar trend.
In 2019, from Aug. 1 through Dec. 31, Mesa County received 288 tips compared to 244 over the same stretch from the previous year (an 18% increase), according to spokeswoman Emily Shockley.
Safe2Tell is a violence intervention and prevention program for students to anonymously report threats to their own and others’ safety.
As Shockley explained, Safe- 2Tell works by students submitting tips via the texting app, website or calling directly.
Among the bills introduced at the opening of the Colorado legislative session this week was one focused on expanding Colorado’s Safe2Tell Program.
Shockley said the district made a push for students to sign up in recent years with more advertising in school bathrooms, bookmarks handed to students about the program and teachers explaining it to students.
Shockley explained that when a tip comes in, it goes straight to a dispatch center. Once the dispatch center determines where the tip came from, whether that’s Glenwood Springs, Grand Junction or elsewhere in Colorado, local law enforcement will respond if necessary.
“All reports are cleared in some way,” she said. “First line is law enforcement and school personnel.”
According to Safe2Tell Colorado, suicide threats, drugs and bullying continue to be the top categories of tips reported to the program.
“Although Safe2Tell reports decreased during the holidays when many of our Colorado schools are on break, the continued increase in monthly tip volume when compared to last year shows our students and families are remaining vigilant,” Attorney General Phil Weiser said in a press release. “As we move into 2020, it is important that students continue to report anything they deem suspicious or cause for concern.”
False tips occur about 2.5% of the time, according to the state numbers. False tips include ones that contain untrue information and are submitted with the intent to harm, injure or bully another person.