AG Josh Shapiro holds North Hills ‘listening session’ about student tip line
State Attorney General Josh Shapiro on Thursday conducted what he described as a “listening session” with North Hills High School students to gather feedback on the “Safe2Say Something” initiative he launched late last year.
North Hills was among the first school districts in the state to sign onto Safe2Say, a tip line for students to report non-emergency threats that do not require immediate attention from local law enforcement.
Shapiro met with members of the media to outline the program before holding a private session with students who were asked to share their ideas about school safety reporting systems and what can be done to make improvements.
Incidents that can be reported through Safe2Say include bullying, intimidation, harassment, weapons, drugs or other threats to schools.
Students also are encouraged to use the tip line to report vandalism, theft or information about crimes that are being planned, including comments posted on social media.
“The most important thing is to hear from you,” Shapiro told about two dozen senior high school students who were invited to attend the Sept. 26 meeting. “I want your thoughts, good or bad, so we can try and address it and make it even better.”
Shapiro said while he is the top law enforcement officer in the state, he also is the father of four and is “mindful” of the differences today’s students face compared to when he was growing up.
“You are growing up with way more challenges than we did,” Shapiro said. “We didn’t grow up with cyberbullying, we didn’t grow up with prescription drug abuse, we didn’t grow up dealing with the same kind of stress that you are dealing with every day.”
The Pennsylvania House and Senate are expected to designate the week of Sept. 23-29 as “Safe2Say Something” week.
Since its launch, Shapiro’s office has received nearly 28,000 tips from students statewide, he said.
Most of the tips, he said, dealt with students struggling with mental health issues.
“The tips we’ve received tell a very clear story that students are suffering, they’re battling a lot of mental health issues and need more help and support.”
Analysts at the attorney general’s center will receive and review tips and then refer them to designated school contacts and law enforcement as needed.
The tip line, which can be used anonymously, can be accessed online or by downloading a mobile app for iOS or Android devices. Tips also can be submitted by calling 1-844-SAF2SAY.
Information supplied to authorities is confidential.
Tony LaRussa is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Tony at 724-772-6368, [email protected] or via Twitter .