State launches ‘Safe Schools Maryland’ tip line and app
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.