PA's Safe2Say tip line in operation, amid concerns

By Gary Weckselblatt

A new statewide system to help identify at-risk students and intercede before they cause injury to themselves or others has gone live in Pennsylvania.

The Safe2Say Something Anonymous Reporting System, which began operating January 14, is a tip line operated and monitored 24/7 by the Office of the Attorney General, where tips are reviewed, classified, and forwarded to the appropriate school district.

Anyone may provide tips about potential risks to young people through a phone call - 1-844-723-2729, website ( or phone app.

The Quakertown Community School District has met all requirements established in Safe2Say, a key component in the Pennsylvania General Assembly's Act 44 of 2018. A five-person district team has been established and trained on the program. The team includes Assistant Superintendent Nancianne Edwards, the district's Safety Coordinator; Superintendent Dr. Bill Harner; Dr. Lisa Hoffman, Assistant Superintendent for the Office of Teaching and Learning; Janet Pelone, Director of Pupil Services; and high school Principal Dr. David Finnerty.

Ms. Edwards has trained each of the district's principals, who have given presentations to faculty and staff at each school.

Safe2Say is modeled on a similar program Colorado created after the 1999 Columbine school shooting. Sandy Hook Promise (SHP), a national non-profit organization founded by several family members whose loved ones were killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School on December 14, 2012, has partnered with the Office of the PA Attorney General in the rollout. SHP provided the training to school leaders.

While everyone supports the mission of the program, School Boards across the state have passed resolutions seeking a delay in its implementation. The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reported the Baldwin-Whitehall School Board voted 8-0 to formally oppose the adoption of the Safe2Say program.

In Bucks County, the Centennial School District voiced similar opposition. Superintendent David Baugh said his district has "serious concerns" that "people can say anything about anyone. We're worried about students and teachers being targeted. We're not convinced there's a failsafe in the system.

Dr. Baugh suggested that the General Assembly's "rush to do something is going to make things worse" and said to have district personnel on call "365 days, 24 hours a day, seven days a week is something we don't have the staffing for. We're all for safe schools, and have systems in place for that. This just takes it to a whole different tier."

Dr. Baugh expressed similar concerns in a recent story in The Intelligencer.

QCSD Superintendent Dr. Bill Harner regularly meets with superintendents in the voting district of state Sen. Bob Mensch. In those meetings, where the topic of school safety has been the issue, a tip line was never suggested. Instead, school leaders expressed the need for state help with funding for more counselors and School Resource Officers.

"Once you identify a student problem, you have to have a solution," Dr. Harner said. "You are identifying a mental health issue, but where are the funds to support those identified as having a genuine problem through this hotline?"

Safe2Say "needs to be financially resourced with money specifically targeted to this issue," he said.

Act 44 created a School Safety and Security Committee within Pennsylvania Commission On Crime and Delinquency that awards grants as part of the program. The committee reports it received $315 million worth of requests for safety improvements. There is only $40 million available to fill these requests.

Gary Weckselblatt, QCSD Director of Communications, writes about the people and the programs that impact the Quakertown Community School District. He can be reached at 215-529-2028 or [email protected].

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