Submitted by Dr. Carrie Rowe, Superintendent
Youth today face many obstacles growing up, but finding a place to turn when something isn’t right at school doesn’t have to be one of them. Whether a student is confronted by bullying, threats of violence, feelings of depression or anxiety, or is concerned about the changing behavior of a friend, students now have a new place to turn.
For the past two years, Beaver Area School District students concerned about violence or the potential for violence have been able to report such tips using the Safe2Say Anonymous Reporting System, a youth violence prevention program run by the Pennsylvania Office of the Attorney General.
The Safe2Say program enables Beaver Area students to share what they know before it is too late by submitting a tip on an App on their iPads, the program website, or by calling a hotline. No matter which method they choose to use, their anonymous tips are routed to a Pennsylvania Crisis Center where trained professionals are ready to listen and help, 24-hours a day, 7-days a week. While the Safe2Say App, which is available in the Apple Store and on Google Play, is automatically pushed to all District owned iPads, students can also call via phone or access the program website to submit a tip.
After a student submits an anonymous tip through the Safe2Say system, professionals at the Crisis Center review, assess, and process the submission. The information is then shared with school administration and/or local law enforcement for intervention. This means that within minutes of sharing life-safety information, help will be on the way.
In partnership with the Safe2Say program, the Beaver Area School District teaches students to recognize the warning signs and signals of someone who may be a threat to themselves or others and to share what they know with responsible adults before the violent act is committed or to get help for someone who is experiencing mental, physical, or emotional difficulties.
The Safe2Say Anonymous Reporting System is a tool that responds to decades of research showing that 80% of school shooters tell someone of their violent plans and 70% of people who complete suicide tell someone or give some other warning sign. Sharing these warning signs with students in the Middle and High School is another way that Beaver Area faculty and staff are helping students know not only how to report tips, but also those times when they should report what they know to capable adults.
The list of nine potential warning signs that can signal that a student is in crisis or may need help include:
- Suddenly withdrawing from friends, family, and activities (including online or social media)
- Bullying, especially if targeted towards differences in race, religion, gender, or sexual orientation
- Excessive irritability, lack of patience, or becoming angry quickly
- Experiencing chronic loneliness or social isolation
- Expressing persistent thoughts of harming themselves or someone else
- Making direct threats toward a place, another person, or themselves
- Bragging about access to guns or weapons
- Recruiting accomplices or audiences for an attack
- Directly expressing a threat as a plan
While many students feel comfortable sharing concerns for themselves or others with a trusted teacher, guidance counselor, or school therapist, other Beaver
Area students are finding help and reassurance by using the Safe2Say Anonymous Reporting System. To learn more about Safe2Say or other District programs, check out the District’s website (www.basd.k12. pa.us) or follow us on Twitter (@BeaverAreaSD).