Colorado Senate Passes Safe2Tell School Safety Bill

DENVER, CO, Feb 17, 2012 — The Colorado Senate on Tuesday voted unanimously to pass a bill that improves the way students can anonymously reach out to adults about dangerous, violent or criminal activities.

Senator Steve King’s Senate Bill 12-079, Concerning Revisions to the Safe2Tell Program Relating to Advances in Communications Technology, protects the confidentiality of information received through any method of transmission, including telephone call, email, web form, or texting.

After the Senate vote, 20 senators signed on as cosponsors of the measure, joining both the Majority Leader Senator John Morse and the Minority Leader Senator Bill Cadman who were the original Senate cosponsors. SB12-079 now moves to the House, where it will be carried by Representative Amy Stephens.

As explained in the bill’s legislative declaration, “The Safe2Tell program empowers students and the community by offering a comprehensive program of education, awareness, and training and a readily accessible tool that allows students and the community to easily provide anonymous information about unsafe, potentially harmful, dangerous, violent, or criminal activities, or the threat of these activities, to appropriate law enforcement and public safety agencies and school officials.”

Prompted by the Columbine High School tragedy in 1999, a study conducted by the U.S. Secret Service and Department of Education found that in 81% of dangerous or violent incidents in schools, someone other than the attacker knew the incident was going to happen but did not report or act on that knowledge.

Calls from students to Safe2Tell have helped prevent 28 planned school attacks in Colorado over the past 8 years.

Many other tragedies have been prevented as well. Since its inception in 2004, Safe2Tell has received over 9,800 calls, of which 1,257 were reports of bullying and 641 were reports of suicidal behavior or suicide threats.

Additional reports have addressed a wide range of safety issues including assaults, drugs and alcohol, threats of violence, cutting, domestic violence, fighting, animal cruelty, gang-related issues, thefts, harassment, guns and weapons, sexting, sexually-related crimes, child abuse, and vandalism.

“Safe2Tell is a huge success story for us,” King noted on the Senate floor, “a huge success story for our schools, and for the 163 communities and 59 counties that use Safe2Tell.”

The bill was first unanimously approved by the Senate Committee on Local Government, and after contacting the Education, Judicial, and Public Safety departments, Colorado fiscal analyst Jonathan Senft determined that the bill would have no fiscal impact.

King’s written presentation for the Senate Committee on Local Government and a summary of the Committee Meeting is available online at http://www.SchoolSafetyPartners.org/resources/SB12-079_120131.pdf.

Representing bipartisan support, the 22 Senate cosponsors of SB12-079 are: Senators John Morse, Bill Cadman, Irene Aguila, Bob Bacon, Betty Boyd, Joyce Foster, Angela Giron, Lucia Guzman, Rollie Heath, Mary Hodge, Evie Hudak, Cheri Jahn, Keith King, Kent Lambert, Linda Newell, Ellen Roberts, Gail Schwartz, Nancy Spence, Pat Steadman, Lois Tochtrop, Jean White, and Suzanne Williams.