The State of Wyoming, as a result of Sandy Hook and other school tragedies, passed legislation critical to creating safe schools and communities for Wyoming’s youth. In 2016, SF-0097 was passed, which created a tip line for students, educators, parents and the community to relay information confidentially concerning unsafe, potentially harmful, dangerous, violent or criminal activities, or the threat of such activities, to appropriate law enforcement and public safety agencies and school officials. Recognizing information sharing between law enforcement and schools is the key to prevention and intervention the bill allows for the delivery of the information to law enforcement, emergency response personnel and school district officials as necessary for coordination to address the concern expressed in the tip.
Safe2Tell Wyoming was designed to help schools identify youth who are struggling in order to prevent violence and tragedies from occurring. Tips submitted to Safe2Tell Wyoming provide schools a way to gather key information about safety concerns within their schools or communities and use this information to create effective interventions in the lives of students. A key component to the Safe2Tell model in schools is educating and engaging students on what to watch for and what to report while equipping them with the resources to confidentially report concerns. Safe2Tell Wyoming provides trainings, presentations, resources, promotional and marketing materials to Wyoming schools to increase awareness around the Safe2Tell model, promoting responsible use of the confidential reporting system.
State law protects the confidentiality of the person who reports in the tip. During an investigation, efforts are made to protect this confidentiality. Tips received from the tip line are often forwarded directly to school officials, so schools may proactively intervene before a criminal incident or potential tragedy takes place. The Safe2Tell model is a tool all schools can use, by giving students, parents and others a means to report anything that concerns their safety.
If a school is dealing with an ongoing problem or a specific incident, they can advertise the tip line, web reporting and mobile app to students to report any concerns, which helps reduce the time and effort needed to resolve the situation. The very existence of Safe2Tell in schools is a deterrent and can inhibit troublesome behavior from happening in the first place. Safe2Tell Wyoming provides an effective safety model, which allows schools to focus on educating children and providing a safe learning environment for kids to develop life skills.
Safe2Tell Wyoming offers schools timesaving resources to easily participate and educate students, parents and staff about the prevention model. Safe2Tell is available to all Wyoming students and community members, regardless of their individual school’s participation.
KEY BENEFITS FOR SCHOOLS USING THE SAFE2TELL MODEL:
Proactive intervention prevents incidents before they happen.
Confidential tip line saves time investigating incidents.
The tip line’s existence inhibits & deters troublesome behavior.
24/7 forwarding of tips enables prompt action & reduces liability.
Safe2Tell Wyoming materials support quick & easy implementation.
how to implement
safe2tell in your school
HOW CAN YOU PARTICIPATE?
It is vital that every school submit their administrative contact information to Safe2Tell Wyoming. This ensures that the correct individuals are notified in the event of a Safe2Tell report involving their school.
HOW SHOULD WE HANDLE SAFE2TELL REPORTS?
Your organization should determine the practice and procedure for routinely handling Safe2Tell Wyoming reports in a confidential manner. It should be clear to your staff who will receive, investigate and complete the disposition report on all Safe2Tell tips. Please note that Safe2Tell Wyoming reports will be sent via e-mail, or text message.
HOW CAN WE RAISE AWARENESS IN OUR SCHOOL?
There are two key components to increasing awareness of Safe2Tell Wyoming in your school:
STAFF AWARENESS & EDUCATION:
It is recommended that all staff involved with students at every level be aware and familiar with Safe2Tell Wyoming, why it is important for students, and how it works. This not only educates staff on the importance of student issues regarding the code of silence, it also enables them to communicate the need for students to tell in a way that keeps them safe. Studies show that students perform better academically in safe learning environments where there is a fair and equitable enforcement of the rules and open avenues of communication to report dangerous or threatening behaviors. Furthermore, students thrive when they have at least one caring, committed, pro-social adult involved in their lives. When school personnel reiterate these messages in a strength-based and positive manner, it contributes greatly to a safe school environment.
STUDENT AWARENESS AND EDUCATION
While Safe2Tell Wyoming materials in the form of posters, student cards, banners, etc. are important reminders of Safe2Tell’s availability for students, it takes more than a poster on the wall to teach young people the importance of “telling” when they have information that could prevent a tragedy from occurring.
According to the U.S. Secret Service 81% of the time a violent act occurs on school property, at least one student had prior knowledge of the event but failed to report it. Students must learn the importance of taking every threat seriously and reporting in a way that keeps them safe.
How to handle Safe2Tell Reports:
Helpful Guidelines for Handling Safe2Tell Wyoming Reports:
Each Safe2Tell Wyoming report needs a response while maintaining the confidentiality of the reporting party who is protected by Wyoming State Law. The following are suggestions to aid in successfully responding to, and reporting back on, all Safe2Tell reports.
Who Should Be Aware?
While the confidentiality of the reporting party is to be protected, administrators in a position of trust can make a difference in the life of a student who is at risk, feeling threatened, or in a dangerous situation. Those administrators may be notified and assist in helping to provide a positive outcome. Your organization should determine what the practice or procedure will be for routinely handling Safe2Tell report issues in a confidential and anonymous manner. Consider who the most effective and involved party may be or form a collaboration of:
School Resource Officer / Local Law Enforcement
School Security Officers
Student’s Parent(s) / Guardian(s)
School Counselor / Psychologist / Nurse
What is the Appropriate Action?
With varied content and circumstances for each report, the goal always is prevention and awareness through education and training. It is not necessary to inform the student (whether victim or perpetrator) that a Safe2Tell Wyoming report has been received. Remember that Safe2Tell reports are considered intelligence information and are NOT to be included in case files with public access.
In most cases, the most effective intervention for the student is realizing that an adult in their life notices, cares, and is aware. Consider some suggestions of possible actions for the most productive method for obtaining a positive outcome:
Counseling – Speak with students on an individual basis; counseling large groups can be ineffective, leading to further intimidation/bullying. Strive for solution-based outcomes.
Monitoring Situation with Awareness – Seek to personally observe the noted behavior, particularly in situations where students assume the adults are not aware of the reported actions.
Immediate Intervention – Take all threats seriously and be prepared to suggest helpful outside resources in your area for students in crisis.
School Discipline – Any behavior that violates school or district policies should be met with the appropriate disciplinary procedures.
Assessments - Conduct threat and suicide assessments when appropriate.
Citation/Arrest – When a report is crime-related, it will be at the prerogative of local law enforcement to determine the appropriate action.
Referral – Should it befit the circumstance, a referral to another local agency, such as Department of Family Services, Mental Health, etc. is appropriate and acceptable. Be sure to note such referrals on the disposition report.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):
Q: What if I received this report erroneously?
A: Please notify Safe2Tell Wyoming immediately, providing the report number, and discard the report/delete the email or text message.
Q: What if there is not enough information for follow-up?
A: Safe2Tell Wyoming may request more information from the reporting party via our web reporting and mobile app system. Inform Safe2Tell Wyoming administrative staff (307-777-8787) if you would like to post a request for more information. Make sure to have the report identification number available for reference. Should more information be submitted on your particular Safe2Tell Wyoming report, you will be notified by the Safe2Tell Wyoming administrative staff or you will receive an update notice by the P3 system. If there is not enough information for follow-up, note as such in the Disposition report. Should more information become available after the Disposition report is filed, update the information on the Disposition tab in P3 or contact Safe2Tell Wyoming administrative staff.
Q: Should I notify the suspect or victim that a Safe2Tell report has been made?
A: It increases the reporting party’s CONFIDENTIALITY if the Safe2Tell Wyoming is kept private and confidential. It is not necessary to articulate that a Safe2Tell Wyoming report has been received.
Q: Will Safe2Tell Wyoming notify the media if a serious crime or incident is prevented?
A: While Safe2Tell Wyoming reserves the right to use report content to describe incidents and outcomes for program purposes, the identity of particular schools and/or districts will not be disclosed unless that particular school or district chooses to pursue their own media coverage. In that event, Safe2Tell Wyoming will include any publicly released media in its own publicity packets for program usage and promotion.
Q: Can I obtain statistics for my school and school district from the Safe2Tell Wyoming database?
A: Safe2Tell Wyoming statistics are compiled in a data report for the state of Wyoming, as a whole. Information posted to the Safe2Tell Wyoming website, including monthly and yearly data reports, are public domain and may be published or reported by the media. Safe2Tell Wyoming only releases district and school data to authorized school/district personnel. To request data for your school or district, contact Safe2Tell Wyoming administrative staff.
Q: If another agency involved (school, law enforcement, etc.) has already submitted a Disposition report, do you still need one from our organization?
A: Yes, submit your Disposition report regardless of another organization’s involvement so that Safe2Tell Wyoming has a complete record of the tip outcome. Multiple Disposition reports may be submitted on each tip.
Q: Am I allowed to contact or interview the suspect or subject in the report, since confidentiality is protected by Wyoming state law?
A: Confidentiality laws protect the individual who made the report. Individuals listed in the report who are in need of intervention may be contacted, interviewed, investigated, etc. as appropriately determined by the designated school representative, law enforcement officer, or involved community agency. Remember it is not necessary to mention that a Safe2Tell Wyoming report is involved and often can lead to a more successful outcome if that information is kept private and confidential.