DENVER-Colorado has suffered through horrific school shootings, with 13 killed at Columbine High School in April 1999, one killed at Platte Canyon High School in September 2006, and one killed at Arapahoe High School about three weeks ago on December 13.
After the Columbine massacre, a program named Safe2Tell was established to give K-12 students an anonymous hotline to report school safety problems to authorities -- including, but not limited to, planned school shootings, bullying, drug and alcohol use, and planned suicides.
Recently, the nonprofit-operated Safe2Tell was at risk of shutting down, primarily due to a lack of grant funding. The bipartisan Safe2Tell Act being introduced in the 2014 legislative session, and sponsored by leaders of the four legislative caucuses, will keep this important program running by moving the operation from the nonprofit sector to the Colorado Attorney General’s Office.
“The Colorado Attorney General’s Office was instrumental in the creation of the Safe2Tell program,” said Attorney General John Suthers. “We have continued to be supportive of the program and believe moving Safe2Tell to the AG’s Office will ensure its viability and continuing success in future years.”
The U.S. Secret Service and U.S. Dept. of Education reported in 2002 that in 81 percent of violent school disturbances, somebody knew the plans of the attacker but didn’t report it. Safe2Tell is a tool to change that.
“Coloradans have grieved for the lives of too many students and educators who were killed in school attacks. We must work together to try to stop the madness, and that is why the Safe2Tell Act is wholly bipartisan. Hotlines like Safe2Tell save lives,” Senate President-elect Morgan Carroll (D-Aurora).
“Safe2Tell is a valuable program that protects our children and makes our communities safer,” said Senate Minority Leader Bill Cadman (R-Colorado Springs). “Children in Colorado should never feel too scared to tell an adult about impending danger and Safe2Tell gives them a safe and confidential way to prevent violence or seek guidance about any issue that may be troubling them. I’m proud of the results we’ve seen so far with Safe2Tell and am pleased to help provide the necessary resources for them to continue their great work.”
From September 2004 to December 2013, the hotline received 9,818 tips from 163 Colorado cities and 59 counties. The tips ranged from reports about bullying to reports about planned school attacks.
“Safe2Tell is proven effective in stopping school violence,” said Speaker Mark Ferrandino (D-Denver). “I hope every legislator will support this bill.”
“Ensuring students can express their concerns about the safety of their peers and school security is a good step toward keeping our kids out of harm’s way,” said House Minority Leader Brian DelGrosso (R-Loveland). “I am pleased to see the Safe2Tell Legislative Proposal receive such strong bipartisan support in both the House and Senate.”