Albany County School District No. 1 will begin implementing the anonymous reporting program Safe2Tell Wyoming within the next few weeks — part of an ongoing statewide effort to improve student safety.
“It’s an anonymous tipline that students, parents, employees, anyone can log in to access and leave tips, say, if someone’s going to harm themselves or someone’s in a bad situation,” said Stuart Nelson, ACSD No. 1 director of state and federal programs.
The new program will replace the state’s previous anonymous reporting program, WeTip, which Nelson described as “less effective statewide.”
“The WeTip just never kicked off the ground, and it was run through the Department of Ed in Cheyenne,” he said. “And this one is run through the (Wyoming Office of Homeland Security), so they have a lot more connectivity ... the response time will be much better. There’s someone staffed there full-time to take those tips.”
Safe2Tell debuted in Natrona County School District No. 1 in October, and every school district in the state will eventually implement it, Nelson said.
According to program data, 81 reports were received in November, the month after it launched for the first time. Thirteen of those tips involved suicide threats, while 12 involved drugs and 10 involved instances of bullying. Other reports included incidents of self-harm, depression, child abuse, sexual assault and harassment.
To submit a tip, students and community members can call 1-844-WYO-SAFE, download a mobile app on their smartphones or submit a report directly through the Safe2Tell website. All tips are reported anonymously, though people have the option to leave a callback number if they would like to provide more information, Nelson said.
The tips are received at a central location in Cheyenne run through the Wyoming Highway Patrol, then forwarded to the appropriate list of district contacts, Nelson said. Each school in ACSD No. 1 has designated a team of five people to address the tips.
“Let’s say we have a tip about a student at Laramie Junior High School,” Nelson said. “That dispatcher, when, they receive the tip, will notify us — we have five people on each list — they will be notified by text message that there is a possibility of something happening or going to happen. And then, we’ll go ahead and move forward and call local law enforcement or investigate it ourselves.”
ACSD No. 1 principals have already received training in the program, and students are learning how to use the program as well.
At LJHS, Principal Debbie Fisher gave staff members an overview of the program Monday afternoon.
“It’s really to intervene at the earliest possible point in the life of a young person that’s struggling — helping when they need it before a situation turns into a tragedy.” she said.
Nelson said the district was excited to roll out the new program “for student safety and community safety,”
“It doesn’t have to be just students — it can be anything in town that someone sees,” he said.
“They can go ahead and call in the anonymous tip.”