CyberSafe Parent: How the Safe2Tell program is saving lives

Cyber Safe

This week, another mass shooting at a school — this time in Kentucky. Two were killed, 17 injured.

It’s a scene we know all too well in Colorado.

But a state program is helping prevent such scenarios, and it’s just a text away.

“I know it comes in super handy when someone’s going through a really hard time in their life,” said Paige Livingstone, an eighth grader at Skyview Middle School.

Like all students in the state of Colorado, Skyview eighth graders Paige and Gabby have ID cards with the Safe2Tell contact information on them.

“You just talk to them about anything,” said another student Gabby Gioscia.

Safe2Tell is a statewide anonymous reporting tool available 24 hours a day. Just last weekend, the school got a tip about a possible bomb threat.

“So if kids are you know, worried or they overheard a conversation about something that might be happening that’s a great way to anonymously report, and again we take action right away because it comes right to our cell phones instantly in a text,” said Patty Gioscia, principal at Skyview.

While there’s a phone number, 75 percent of reporting happens online or on the app.

“We have seen an 85 percent increase in the last year alone in reporting in El Paso County. They have a method of communicating and that’s who we just someone that will immediately get it to the right officials that will intervene,” said Susan Payne, executive director of Safe2Tell.

Payne is a former investigator with the Colorado Springs Police Department. She created the Safe2Tell program at a local level. She now runs the program across the entire state.

“Their own safety or the safety of others. And that means if they see something on social media or from their gut this just doesn’t feel right, they don’t have to decide if it’s real. But we want to make sure that gets to an adult in a position of trust that would know how serious to take that,” said Payne.

The program can be used by any member of the community if they think someone is at risk of being harmed.

“Kids don’t have to worry if it’s a real threat or not. It’s a great way now to instantly text someone who can judge for them if it’s a valid threat,” said Payne.

“You don’t have to worry about someone knowing what you did and like tattlelling on you and feeling unsafe, said Gabby.

Safe2Tell can be found online at Safe2Tell.org or to report by phone, call 1-877-542-7233.
 

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