HARRISBURG, DAUPHIN COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU-TV) A push to keep kids safe in Pennsylvania schools. Lawmakers are now pushing for a new program they say has already been proven to save lives. Harrisburg Reporter Matt Heckel reports.
A bill is in the Senate that would create the “Safe to Say” program. It’s similar to programs in five other states right now. And supporters of the bill say it already has a positive track record.
Pennsylvania State Senator Vincent Hughes has nothing but praise for the “Safe to Say” program. It was created in Colorado in 1999 after the Columbine High shooting.
“Young people, and in fact for folks of all ages, if they see a problem, they have to be able to call someone, to notify someone.” Said Senator Hughes
Which is why Senator Hughes, is one of three senators to introduce Senate Bill 1142. It would create the similar “Safe to Say” program in Pennsylvania. Giving students and others an 800 number set up by the Attorney General’s Office to anonymously report any sort of danger or threat. The Colorado program has received more than 30-thousand tips since 2004. Not only for threats of violence but also suicide threats and bullying.
Republican Senator Scott Martin is a co-sponsor of the bill. He wants to correct mistakes made elsewhere, like in Parkland, Florida.
“Things were happening in the school, the school was internalizing their procedures, and not telling police.” Said Senator Martin.
While anonymous tips can bring in some false information, Senator Martin says “The cost-benefit analysis, if we got to deal with some pranksters versus getting something that’s a sincere tip, then why not?”
And while the two senators represent opposite sides of the aisle. So they hope this is the start of more bipartisan work in the future to keep kids safe.
“Hopefully, through this common sense kind of legislation, we can grow this to more difficult issues.” Said Senator Hughes.
And Senate biBill142 passed the Senate Education committee unanimously this week.