Attorney General Josh Shapiro Announces Partnership with Sandy Hook Promise to Implement State-Wide School Safety Reporting Program

October 1, 2018 | Topic: Peoples AG

HARRISBURG — At the Sara Lindemuth/Anna Carter Primary School in Harrisburg today, Attorney General Josh Shapiro announced a partnership with Sandy Hook Promise to roll out and operate the Safe2Say Something Anonymous Reporting System for every school across the Commonwealth. The new school-safety reporting system will enable students, teachers, school administrators and others to learn how to detect and report potential threats of violence and other problems before they occur.

“Pennsylvania students deserve a safe place to learn, free from the threat of violence from classmates or other individuals,” said Attorney General Shapiro. “I’m proud my office was entrusted by the legislature to run this new program focused on school safety. Working together with Sandy Hook Promise, we can make Pennsylvania safer for families, teachers and, most importantly, our students.”

Attorney General Shapiro was joined by Senator Patrick Browne (R-16th) and representatives for Sen. Vincent Hughes (D-7th), primary co-sponsors of the legislation that created the new program, and the managing director of Sandy Hook Promise, Nicole Hockley, whose son, Dylan, was shot and killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School. Also attending the news conference were Andrae Martin, the principal at Sara Lindemuth/Anna Carter Primary School in the Susquehanna School District, and Clayton Geisel, a school board student representative.

Sandy Hook Promise is a national non-profit organization based in Newtown, Conn., formed after the school shooting at the Sandy Hook school in December, 2012. Its founders and directors include people whose loved ones were shot and killed in that tragedy.

The Safe2Say Something Anonymous Reporting System is a program approved by the legislature and signed into law by Governor Wolf this year to improve school safety by allowing concerned citizens to report threats to school safety to law enforcement.  Office of Attorney General call center analysts will receive and review tips, and refer them to designated school contacts and law enforcement as necessary.  Reports can be submitted anonymously through an online website form, hotline phone number or on a mobile app. The program is scheduled to begin in January, 2019.

The partnership with Sandy Hook Promise is the first of its kind through which the organization will provide expertise from its Anonymous Reporting System on a state-wide level.  While Sandy Hook Promise has trained 3.5 million students, teachers and others in 50 states in best practices to detect and report signs of potential violence, Pennsylvania is the first location in which Sandy Hook Promise will work across an entire state – with the Office of Attorney General Shapiro.

Highlights of the partnership include:

  • Sandy Hook Promise will be providing its web-based app that enables students, parents, teachers and administrators to report potential threats.
  • They will work with Attorney General Shapiro’s Office of Public Engagement and Government Affairs to reach out to every school district, private and parochial school in the Commonwealth to explain how to use the reporting system and app.
  • Sandy Hook Promise will work with the Attorney General’s team to train students and teachers across Pennsylvania on signs to look for from potentially troubled individuals, and how to responsibly report them.
  • Lastly, the non-profit organization will also work with school districts in training them on how to develop a crisis response team.

“We are proud to work with the Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General to provide students with our comprehensive violence prevention training and anonymous reporting system,” Nicole Hockley, Co-Founder and Managing Director of Sandy Hook Promise. “We know that early prevention programs like ours are proven to stop violence before it starts. With this launch, we will train students across the state how to recognize at-risk behaviors and take action to help someone else by submitting a tip anonymously. Safe2Say Something will save lives and help Pennsylvania students stay safe and healthy.”

“Today, with the signing of the agreement between Sandy Hook Promise and the Attorney General’s Office, Safe2Say is a step closer to implementation and saving students’ lives in Pennsylvania,” said Senator Browne.  “I have been pleased to work with the Attorney General’s Office in establishing this new program that was included in Senate Bill 1142, sponsored by myself, Senator Hughes and Senator Martin.”

“I am very pleased we were able to implement the Safe2say Program and partner with Sandy Hook Promise to make this initiative a reality so quickly,” Senator Hughes said. “We have seen far too many threats and incidents of violence across the state and nation, so empowering community efforts to protect themselves is a major step in the fight against school violence. Thanks to Attorney General Shapiro, Senator Browne, Senator Martin and the people with Sandy Hook Promise for partnering with us to ensure our children are protected.”

At today’s press conference, elementary school students unveiled the new logo for the program. Student government leader Clayton Geisel also spoke about the importance of having a secure, anonymous reporting line so that students can feel comfortable sharing information.

“The Safe2Say Something Anonymous Reporting System will help make schools the safe place they once were and should be,” said Clayton Geisel.

At least six other states, including Colorado, Michigan, Nevada, Oregon, Utah and Wyoming have established tip lines similar to the Safe2Say Something Anonymous Reporting System.

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