‘Safe2Tell’ Program For School Safety Gets Lifeline From Lawmakers
DENVER (CBS4) – A program designed to prevent school shootings in Colorado is now being managed by the state attorney general’s office. It gives students ways to warn about possible violence without any repercussions for coming forward.
The Safe2Tell Program started after the Columbine shooting. Nearly 15 years later it’s success is indisputable.
Over the last 10 years the Safe2Tell hotline has received nearly 10,000 tips about everything from bullying to guns on campus. It’s a nonprofit that operates on grants and donations and was running out of money. On Tuesday lawmakers threw it a lifeline at the state Capitol.
“This program has prevented 1,000 suicides, 31 school attacks since its inception,” Gov. John Hickenlooper said.
Democrats, Republicans, Attorney General John Suthers and the governor joined forces to announce legislation aimed at saving Safe2Tell.
“We pulled together knowing that nothing is more important than the safety of our children,” Democratic Senate President Morgan Carroll said.
The bill puts the program permanently under the office of the attorney general.
“The success is shown, the need is great and it’s time to ensure Safe2Tell have a secure and viable funding base,” Suthers said.
The bill calls for $250,000 a year to run the program with three full-time employees.
“This is a minimal investment of state dollars to ensure that a program we know that works, saves lives and protects our kids can continue into the future,” Democratic Speaker of the House Mark Ferrandino said.
While there’s no indication the teenager in the Arapahoe High School shooting told anyone of his plans, statistics show in 80 percent of school attacks someone knows and doesn’t report it.
“As a legislator, as parent of two high school sons … and as that kid who used to walk to school early and wait until coast is clear to go home, we need you to tell,” said Bill Cadman, R-Peyton.
Thirty-six school districts and private schools in Colorado educate their students about Safe2Tell. The hope is to expand it to more schools under the attorney general’s office.
The bill is expected to sail through the legislature.