Hampton joins state program to help students report threats, tips
Students at Hampton and across the state are being provided another way to make it safe to report anything that they feel is just not right.
The Safe2Say Something is a state-led initiative providing resources for anyone in schools to anonymously and securely report safety concerns “to help identify and intervene when unsafe and/or harmful behaviors take place” and is now ready for use at Hampton Township School District, according to Dr. Rebecca Cunningham, assistant superintendent at Hampton.
“We are looking forward to this as another way for kids to report information,” Cunningham said.
The program, offered through Act 44 by the Pennsylvania Office of the Attorney General and in partnership with the Sandy Hook Promise, is tasking all school districts to provide access and be trained in this new system, Cunningham said.
Students or anyone can report information regarding potential violent, harmful or threatening situations to a state call center which will be coordinated by the Office of the Attorney General. They can use an app, website, phone call, text or email, she said.
A triage call center reviews, assesses and processes all submissions, according to the Safe2Say Something website. It then sends all submissions to school administration and/or law enforcement for intervention. If needed, the crisis center may contact the tipster anonymously through the app, according to the program details.
Cunningham said the triage center will decide if they should call 911 or the school district or both, dependent on the information they receive.
The district has a team that is trained in the Safe2Say Something protocol. Staff and grades sixth through 12 will receive training next month, Cunningham said.
The training provides on how to recognize at-risk behaviors and how to take action to help someone else by submitting an anonymous tip.
Access to the PA Attorney General’s Office program is on the school district website. Or contact 1-844-SAF2SAY.
Parents will also be informed of the training specifics and anyone from across the state can call into the triage center to report anything, Cunningham said.
Hampton has already been proactive in providing avenues for students to report information.
“We always encourage students to talk to counselors, parents, school safety specialists, or Officer (Aaron) Zola,” said Cunningham. Zola is the Hampton School Resource Officer from the township police department.
All students and staff in the district are already being trained in ALICE, or Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter, Evacuate, which is an active shooter response training in a nonlinear approach to dealing with emergency situations.
At the middle school, there is a building-level crisis team that meets frequently, said Marlynn Lux, middle school principal. This team takes a leadership role in planning any school-wide safety education, which include the following: annual student ALICE training, Internet Safety programs, Drug and Alcohol Awareness, and more.
“In all of those programs, we emphasize the importance of the students communicating with adults when they see or hear anything of a concerning nature,” she said. “The students feel very comfortable with us, as principals, and they also come right to the main office at times in order to report.”
In addition, middle school students can report bullying to an adult or by completing a form available to them in the school counseling office anonymously, if they choose, Lux said.
They have an advisory program in place where each adult in the building advises approximately 15 students throughout the year, she said.
“We not only teach bullying prevention during that time, but we also emphasize the importance of displaying good character traits,” she said.
Statistics on the Safe2Say Something website report that 80 percent of school shooters told someone of their violent plans, and 59 percent told more than one person. And 70 percent of people who completed suicide told someone of their plans and gave other warning signs.
And, finally, one million students reported being harassed, threatened or subjected to cyberbullying, according to the state website.
Natalie Beneviat is a