State launches ‘Safe Schools Mary­land’ tip line and app

The Calvert Recorder - - News -

Gov. Larry Ho­gan (R) re­cently an­nounced the launch of “Safe Schools Mary­land,” a tip line and mo­bile app de­signed to stream­line re­port­ing of pos­si­ble threats to stu­dents and school fa­cil­i­ties.

“In­ci­dents of tar­geted vi­o­lence at our schools are rarely sud­den im­pul­sive acts; in­stead, in the ma­jor­ity of these in­ci­dents, an­other per­son was aware of what the stu­dent was think­ing or plan­ning to do,” Ho­gan said in a press re­lease. “We must re­main ever vig­i­lant when it comes to pro­tect­ing our kids, and we are count­ing on our lo­cal school com­mu­ni­ties, our stu­dents, teach­ers, and par­ents to work to­gether with us in these im­por­tant ef­forts.”

Stu­dents, fam­ily mem­bers, par­ents, teach­ers, ad­min­is­tra­tors, and other com­mu­nity mem­bers can anony­mously re­port in­for­ma­tion to Safe Schools Mary­land via a mo­bile app avail­able for down­load through the Ap­ple App Store or Google Play, on­line at www. SafeS­chool­sMD.org, or by call­ing 1-833-MD-B-SAFE (1-833-632-7233). Trained tech­ni­cians will re­spond to re­ports 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year.

The tip line staff will share in­com­ing in­for­ma­tion with ap­pro­pri­ate school sys­tem of­fi­cials and staff; law en­force­ment per­son­nel; fire, emer­gency, be­hav­ioral health and med­i­cal staff; and other part­ners to help pre­vent vi­o­lent or dan­ger­ous in­ci­dents at schools around the state and pro­vide as­sis­tance to stu­dents in cri­sis, ac­cord­ing to the re­lease. Stu­dents, par­ents, teach­ers, ad­min­is­tra­tive staff and oth­ers should be vig­i­lant and re­port any ac­tiv­ity that makes them feel un­com­fort­able, ner­vous or fright­ened about the safety of their school, them­selves or oth­ers.

In many re­cent school vi­o­lence in­ci­dents or threats, as­sailants have ex­hib­ited be­hav­ior that sig­naled a po­ten­tial for vi­o­lent ac­tiv­ity or dis­cussed such ac­tiv­ity on so­cial me­dia. Some po­ten­tial in­ci­dents around the coun­try have been thwarted be­cause alert stu­dents, par­ents, school staff or oth­ers re­ported sus­pi­cious be­hav­iors to ap­pro­pri­ate au­thor­i­ties, the re­lease states.

Ho­gan has asked the Mary­land Emer­gency Man­age­ment Agency to co­or­di­nate the school safety tip line and mo­bile app in part­ner­ship with the Mary­land Cen­ter for School Safety. MEMA has trained ex­ist­ing staff and is hir­ing new staff to en­sure that tip line calls and re­ports are an­swered 24/7. Dig­i­tal bill­boards through­out the state will be­gin dis­play­ing Safe Schools Mary­land in­for­ma­tion as part of the cam­paign launch.

The Mary­land State Depart­ment of Ed­u­ca­tion also was just awarded $3.6 mil­lion in fed­eral school safety grants, which will sup­ple­ment over $40 mil­lion in state fund­ing pro­vided in the fis­cal 2019 bud­get.

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