BENTONVILLE, Ark. (NewsNation Now) — In light of the deadly shooting at Oxford High School in Michigan, experts are reminding communities of reporting tools to help keep students safe.
Experts say communication is critical for early warnings; tip lines for school threats are up and running in most states across the United States. In addition, they serve as a safe place for students to report school threats without fear of retaliation.
Most of the time, there is an advanced warning for school shootings — students may hear something about someone planning a school attack. However, students often don’t say anything or feel comfortable coming forward with their concerns about classmates.
“My sister, about a week and a half ago, texted my mom, was saying how she was afraid to go to school,” said Haley Hull, an Oxford High School graduate.
In the aftermath of this week’s mass shooting in Michigan, several students admitted to hearing rumors about it beforehand on social media.
The local sheriff’s office said it was not aware of any warnings.
But there are resources for students to warn authorities before a deadly shooting occurs.
Safe2Tell is a tipline that was formed after the 1999 Columbine massacre in Colorado.
“We’re the oldest and most well-known statewide anonymous reporting tipline,” said Mark Lanning, a Safe2Tell trainer.
Students and parents are urged to contact Safe2Tell to share concerns about a range of topics, not just school threats. But surveys show students typically have advance knowledge and keep quiet.
“In 77% of planned school attacks, the vast majority of them, somebody knew about it and didn’t speak up. They knew about it; they had a concern they had information and didn’t tell anybody,” Lanning said.
Experts say there are reasons for that; the main reason is fear
“Fears of retaliation, of being a snitch, fear and embarrassment, they think they can solve it on their own, fear that adults won’t do anything, they won’t be believed — there are all the fears that young adults feel,” Lanning explained.
Safe2Tell advises students to identify a trusted adult and let them know first. If that doesn’t yield results, Safe2Tell promises to get the tips to the proper authorities.
“Anything that makes you feel unsafe or worried and your desire is to protect, prevent or help, if it meets those two categories, send it in,” Lanning said.
Safe2Tell is available 24/7, and tips can be submitted in the following ways:
- Call: 1-877-542-7233
- Downlad the Safe2Tell Colorado mobile app from the Apple Store or Google Play
- Safe2Tell website: www.safe2tell.org
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