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A Colorado program that allows students to anonymously report threats to their own and others' safety saw a 72% increase in tips between October 2020 and October 2021.

The increase utilization of the Safe2Tell program was detailed in a monthly report from the Attorney General's office, which manages the tip program that started in 2004 as a response to the Columbine High School shooting in 1999.

Safe2Tell is intended to be a conduit of information for distributing anonymous tips to local law enforcement and school officials. Students can report bullying, stealing, threats, fights, drugs, alcohol, weapons, sexual misconduct, harassment, stalking, dating violence, cutting, suicidal behaviors or any other violent or dangerous situations that threaten their safety or the safety of others.

According to the monthly report, Safe2Tell received 2,049 tips in October, a 72% increase in monthly volume compared to October 2020. The Attorney General's office attributed the increase to students returning to in-person learning following school closures due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Safe2Tell has so far this year received 5,168 tips, a 74% increase from the previous school year.

Suicide threats (274), bullying (155), and school complaints (135) were the top categories of tips reported to the program in October, the AG's report said.

The October numbers show the third month in a row of increased calls to Safe2Tell. September's numbers reflected a 101% increase over September 2020 while the August report showed a 36% increase in calls over the previous August.

“During what can be a challenging time of year for many students, we should all work together to support each other and to ensure Colorado’s young people are safe,” Weiser said in a statement. “As we approach the holiday season, it’s important to remember that whether students are in school or on vacation, Safe2Tell is always available to report safety concerns.”

In this school year, false tips make up 1.9% of all tips submitted to Safe2Tell. False tips, according to the Attorney General, are those that contain untrue information and are submitted with the intent to harm, injure, or bully another person.

The General Assembly in 2021 passed legislation designed to crack down on false tips. The law allows a district court to issue a court order for production of records if there is probable cause that a person falsely reported an emergency to the tip line. The law also requires the Department of Law to update the program's materials to explain why a student's report may not remain anonymous. 

Safe2Tell was not immune from the budget cuts handed down in the 2020-21 budget; the program lost about $61,000 for one full-time employee. Weiser's request for the program in 2022-23 is $670,756 and includes restoring the previous cut.

To make a report, individuals can call 1-877-542-7233. Reports also can be made at Safe2Tell.org or through the Safe2Tell mobile app.

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