In 2018, the General Assembly passed Act 44 mandating the establishment and use of the “Safe2Say Something” (S2SS) anonymous reporting system by every Pennsylvania school entity by January 14, 2019
S2SS is a life-saving and changing school safety program that teaches students, educators, and administrators how: (1) to recognize the signs and signals of individuals who may be at risk of hurting themselves or others and (2) to anonymously report this information through the S2SS app, website, or 24/7 Crisis Center Hotline. The following provides an overview of how the program works and will be implemented in schools:
• S2SS works through 5 easy steps:
1. A tip is submitted via mobile app, website, or by calling the PA based 24/7 Crisis Center
2. The tip is then triaged by the Crisis Center to gather enough information to act on it
3. The tip is delivered to the impacted school and, as needed, local law enforcement via 911 County Dispatch
4. The school and, as needed, local law enforcement assess and intervene with the at-risk individual 5. The school then closes out the tip and reports actions taken as a record for their school
• The Office of the Attorney General (OAG) has established S2SS and will manage and maintain the program. The OAG, in partnership with Sandy Hook Promise – a leader in anonymous reporting systems, is building out the app, website and PA-based 24/7 Crisis Center platform.
• OAG Crisis Center analysts are being trained to receive and triage tips to: (1) ensure there is enough information to act upon, (2) conduct 2-way anonymous dialog with tipsters to gather missing information, (3) categorize the tip into life-safety or non-life safety for ease of prioritization by recipients, and (4) deliver the tip to the impacted school and, where needed, its local law enforcement via 911 County Dispatch.
• The S2SS platform allows the official users (Crisis Center analysts, school entities and 911 County Dispatch) to view and act against tips using their PC or mobile device. Additionally, the platform allows for real-time 2-way dialog with a tipster and the viewing and sharing of attachments (such as screen shots and videos) that a tipster has submitted. The platform permits communication between the official users on each tip, allowing for up to the second information sharing and action that all see and read at the same time – as one of the MOST critical pieces of information needed for a life safety issue is a child’s address. This address must be passed to 911 Dispatch to pass to the local jurisdiction to act upon. This exchange can take seconds helping to act quicker to save lives.
• A district, charter school, cyber charter school, private school, nonpublic school, intermediary unit, and/or area vocational-technical school must have an assigned S2SS Lead to coordinate the establishment and training of a 3- 5 member team who will have the responsibility to receive and act upon tips. Additionally, the team will help maintain and sustain S2SS long-term in partnership with Sandy Hook Promise local coordinators, who will in turn support the efforts of the S2SS Lead. Training for S2SS Leads is 3 hours, while team members require 2 hours. Both require a minimum of 30 minutes of un-interrupted practice time to learn the system ... 45 minutes if you may be technically challenged.
• County-based 911 dispatches must have an assigned S2SS Lead to coordinate the setup and training of their personnel to action against life safety tips. Dispatchers will use the S2SS platform to view and act upon the tip, conduct 2-way dialog with a tipster, communicate with the school team, and act against the tip by dispositioning to local police jurisdictions. Training of S2SS Leads takes 2 hours and is delivered by external experts and requires a minimum of 30 minutes of un-interrupted practice time. Dispatch team / personnel training will take 2 hours, including 30 minutes of practice time.
• At the conclusion of school and police investigation and intervention (as needed), all tips will be closed out by school personnel only. Districts, charter schools, cyber charter school, private school, nonpublic schools, intermediary units, and/or area vocational-technical schools can then run reports to analyze the types, times, etc. of tips received and, over time, view trends to demonstrate where change is taking place or is needed.
• Students, educators and administrators have the opportunity to be trained post January 14, 2019 to recognize the signs and signals of individuals who may be at risk of hurting themselves or others along with how to use the S2SS anonymous reporting system to submit tips of the signs and signals they observe. Training takes 1 hour and will be made available via an interactive training video, the downloading of materials to self-lead and/or direct S2SS certified trainers (where availability exists).
• S2SS will be sustained via support by Sandy Hook Promise’s School Outreach Coordinator, in-school awareness materials (at no cost), annual training of new incoming classes and educators/administrators, and, critically, establishment of in-school student clubs (existing or new clubs) to empower students to create sustained change.
• S2SS is mandated to launch January 14, 2019 – therefore trainings for school and dispatch officials will take place in December, followed by a statewide test to ensure all are ready to go LIVE. Finally, students will be trained (starting January 14) given that “once you train, you are live and students will start submitting tips”.
• As reference – The OAG has partnered with Sandy Hook Promise (SHP) to rollout the S2SS program. SHP is a national non-profit committed to creating safe schools and communities through their four evidenced-based Know the Signs intervention programs. To date, SHP has delivered its programs to 10,000+ schools and trained 5+ million youth and adults in every state resulting in countless suicide, school shooting and firearm threat interventions and countless bullying, drug use and other acts of violence and victimization interventions.