A program designed to help members of school communities reports safety concerns.
Safe2Tell is an organization that allows students, parents, school staff, and community members to call and anonymously report concerns regarding the safety of their peers. This program has been building trust with students and schools since 2004. To file a report with Safe2Tell, a trained Safe2Tell analyst will answer the call, website or mobile app tip, collect the needed information, and put the information in a report. The anonymity this program provides raises the question, is Safe2Tell really helping students or is it being used as a strategy to get revenge? Multiple students, from all different schools, claim they have been falsely accused by Safe2Tell reports regarding actions that they did not commit, while many other students claim that Safe2Tell has provided them with a safe way to report anything that is threatening and/or alarming.
Plenty of students have argued that Safe2Tell is not being used to improve the wellbeing of young adults in Colorado, but rather as an anonymous way to get their classmates in trouble. Sarah Lak, a current junior at TJ, had two experiences with Safe2Tell, both of which were bad. “My sophomore year of high school, I was wrongly held accountable for the act of alcohol usage. The morning after I was reported, I woke up to [find the] police in my house. I was speechless.” As a result of the anonymity of Safe2Tell, it makes it easier for people to report anyone they want for anything they want, and there is no way to tell who submitted the report. Recently, students have been using this line to call in as unidentified individuals and report their peers with false accusations. Lak states that “months after this overwhelming experience, I found out who made that false statement, and that they called in out of a feeling of hostility toward me.”
On the other hand, numerous students have used Safe2Tell with good intentions and claim that the program has not only helped them but has also saved their lives and the lives of their classmates. A former DPS student who chooses to stay anonymous has struggled with their mental health all throughout their high school experience. They stated, “It was up until my senior year of high school when I finally reached out for help. I couldn’t talk to my parents, I didn’t feel comfortable enough with my friends or teachers, so my last resort was Safe2Tell. This was probably one of the best decisions I have ever made.” Through Safe2Tell this former student finally felt like they could truly talk to someone about their problems that have been building up onto each other, and ever since they have started using this resource, they have never felt better mental health-wise. This demonstrates that when used correctly, Safe2Tell can save the lives of Colorado students.
Not only do students have controversial views about Safe2Tell, but so do parents. Amy Levinson, a mother of a former TJ student, believes that this line can be a good resource for students, but it can also be bad. She believes that all students, especially in high school, need a safe place to talk to a trusted adult about any concerns regarding themselves or their friends. Levinson appreciates the concept of Safe2Tell but is not very fond of the way it is operated as “too many people take advantage of the fact that Safe2Tell is anonymous and use it against each other.” Levinson suggests a new idea in regard to how Safe2Tell could be conducted with the goal of limiting false reports. She believes that “students should [be able to] set forth their reports in person, but their name should still be held anonymous if [they] wanted. By doing this, respondents of Safe2Tell can go back to whomever made the report, if needed for follow up questions or updates. Having a more controlled system for students will decrease false report rates, and make Safe2Tell a more useful program.”
Safe2Tell is a well known program that creates disputable ideas among both students and parents, depending on personal experiences and knowledge of the program itself.