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Baldwin-Whitehall school board raises concerns over state safety hotline |
South Hills

Baldwin-Whitehall school board raises concerns over state safety hotline

Matthew Guerry
| Friday, January 18, 2019 10:51 a.m

The statewide implementation of a confidential school threat reporting hotline is being called into question by the Baldwin-Whitehall school board.

Board directors passed Jan. 9 a resolution formally opposing the adoption of the Safe2Say program and calling for its delay.

Directors approved the resolution by a vote of 8-0, with Board Member Robert Achtzehn absent. The resolution — a copy of which will be sent to the attorney general’s office — only details the district’s position on Safe2Say, as schools are prohibited from opting out of the program by state mandate.

Developed by Sandy Hook Promise, a nonprofit founded by several parents whose children who were killed in the 2012 school shooting, the program allows for the anonymous reporting of potentially violent individuals in a school or school district through the use of a smartphone app, website or hotline. The Pennsylvania General Assembly passed a bill last year establishing a statewide Safe2Say program, which Gov. Tom Wolf later signed into law.

Reports are evaluated by the Pennsylvania attorney general’s office and are, when deemed credible, passed along to local law enforcement and school district officials. The program is launching at schools throughout the state this month.

Superintendent Randal Lutz said while he supports the mission of the program, schools have not been given clear answers as to how the collected data will be used. He said he also was concerned individuals could misuse the program to bully or harass others by making knowingly false reports.

“Some of those other questions…have simply not been answered,” he said.

Matthew Guerry is a Tribune-Review contributing writer.

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