Emergency preparedness

In this file photo, DuBois City Police Chief Blaine Clark and DuBois Area School District police officer Janice Bart work on a document for emergency preparedness.

DuBois Area School District students are being familiarized with the Safe2Say Something anonymous reporting program, a statewide initiative that gives students a chance to protect themselves and their schools.

The program consists of an anonymous hotline, operated by the Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General, that allows students to report potential bomb and shooting threats, bullying, and suicide threats. The program is available 24 hours a day, every day.

The start date for the Safe2Say program was Jan. 14 but the district staff has been learning about the program since last October, DASD Officer in Charge and School Safety Coordinator Janice Bart said at January’s board meeting.

“Originally it was set out to be basically school threats but is now involved in keeping our schools and communities safe,” Bart said. “If it’s happening in the community, it’s happening in schools. If it’s happening in schools then we know it’s happening in the communities.”

Students can report by three means: They can roll out an application on their cellular phone, they can go online 24 hours a day and go to the website and submit an anonymous tip or they can call the crisis center which is manned 24 hours, 7 hours a day, she said.

Since the rollout in January, Bart said the district received seven tips in the first seven days. There were 615 tips received by the main center in Harrisburg, she said.

“Unfortunately, all of those tips came when school was closed, when school was out,” Bart said. “They were mostly during hours of the evening or overnight. But our teams are able to address these and extend all measures of support for the incidents that were presented to us.”

“So it is a learning capacity that we’re extending and we will be training students,” Bart said.

She noted that this really isn’t anything new to the DASD.

“We’ve always tried to stress and impress on good relationships and if you see something, say something, come tell us, come tell us during the day before you get on a bus, before you get on your transport home, or before you’re out in the community,” she said.

The district has a large staff and a large resource group that it can extend.

“When we do train students, that’s one thing that we will focus on telling them,” said Bart. “Please come tell us, you have the options available, you have the crisis line and you have the online app, but we can surely address it a lot faster if you come tell us.”

Bart noted that it is an anonymous site, but if someone puts out a hoax, there are criminally-based charges that can be filed as a result.

“It’s really important for the youths to know that,” Bart said.

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