Safe2Say Something FAQ

What is the Safe2Say Something Program?

Safe2Say Something (S2SS) is a youth violence prevention program run by the Pennsylvania Office of the Attorney General. The program teaches youth and adults how to recognize warning signs and signals, especially within social media, from individuals who may be a threat to themselves or others and to "say something" BEFORE it is too late.

In 2018, the General Assembly passed Act 44 mandating the establishment and use of the "Safe2Say Something" (S2SS) anonymous reporting system by every Pennsylvania school entity by January 14, 2019.

S2SS is a life-saving and changing school safety program that teaches students, educators, and administrators how: (1) to recognize the signs and signals of individuals who may be at risk of hurting themselves or others and (2) to anonymously report this information through the S2SS app, website, or 24/7 Crisis Center Hotline. The following provides an overview of how the program works and is implemented in schools:

• S2SS works through 5 easy steps:
1. A tip is submitted via mobile app, website, or by calling the PA based 24/7 Crisis Center
2. The tip is then triaged by the Crisis Center to gather enough information to act on it
3. The tip is delivered to the impacted school and, as needed, local law enforcement via 911 County Dispatch
4. The school and, as needed, local law enforcement assess and intervene with the at-risk individual

5. The school then closes out the tip and reports actions taken as a record for their school

The Office of the Attorney General (OAG) has established S2SS and will manage and maintain the program. The OAG, in partnership with Sandy Hook Promise – a leader in anonymous reporting systems, built the app, website, and PA-based 24/7 Crisis Center platform.

OAG Crisis Center analysts are trained to receive and triage tips to (1) ensure there is enough information to act upon, (2) conduct 2-way anonymous dialog with tipsters to gather missing information, (3) categorize the tip into life-safety or non-life safety for ease of prioritization by recipients, and (4) deliver the tip to the impacted school and, where needed, its local law enforcement via 911 County Dispatch.

The S2SS platform allows the official users (Crisis Center analysts, school entities and 911 County Dispatch) to view and act against tips using their PC or mobile device. Additionally, the platform allows for real-time 2-way dialog with a tipster and the viewing and sharing of attachments (such as screenshots and videos) that a tipster has submitted. Finally, the platform permits communication between the official users on each tip, allowing for up to the second information sharing and action that all see and read at the same time – as one of the most critical pieces of information needed for a life safety issue is a child's address. This address must be passed to 911 Dispatch to pass to the local jurisdiction to act upon. This exchange can take seconds, helping to act quickly to save lives.

Is participation in the Safe2Say mandated by law?

The Safe2Say Something program is state-mandated by Act 44 of 2018. It requires all K-12 schools, school districts, charter schools, private schools, cyber charter schools, private schools, nonpublic schools, intermediate units, and area vocational-technical schools operating in Pennsylvania to participate.

How is this program funded?

The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania funds the Crisis Center and its operations through the Office of the Attorney General, and Sandy Hook Promise funds training and education. Therefore, there is no cost to school entities, dispatch, or individuals who download and utilize the program. 

Who Can Use the Safe2Say Anonymous Reporting System?

All students, their parents, staff, and other community members can use the anonymous reporting system. In addition, all students, grades 6-12, receive S2SS training to recognize warning signs, signals, and threats and how to report a safety concern. 

If I make a report, how can I be assured that reporting is anonymous? 

The Say Something Anonymous Reporting System (SS-ARS) is extremely comprehensive in protecting tipsters' identities- people who report to the crisis center. The system utilizes multiple external anonymous gateways to block IP addresses/phone numbers. Additionally, all phone calls received in the Crisis Center are blocked using a sophisticated multiple-level blocking system.

The Attorney General's Office will not allow the anonymity of any tipster to be revealed without a court-ordered search warrant OR when there is a first-person reporting where or when the loss of life is imminent. Anonymity will be uncovered as quickly as possible. However, be aware that they cannot guarantee that anonymity can be uncovered, especially 72 hours or more after a tip has been received, given the use of external gateways, challenges in tracking IP addresses, and possible use of public devices by a tipster.

How do parents find out that their child is in crisis or at risk to self or others? Does the call center reach out to them? How do they find out parent/student information?

There are two methods in which a parent may be informed that their child is in crisis and/or at risk to self or others – one or all approaches could be used for a given situation:

School officials: All life-safety tips are provided to the school district to act upon. Therefore, a school official who receives and acts upon a tip could contact parents/guardians per school policy and protocols.

Local Police: All life-safety tips are provided to local police to act upon. Therefore, in the event that police are either directly reaching out to a student (especially in an emergency) or working with the school district, contact could be made with a parent or guardian. The most likely scenario is through visiting an at-risk child in their home or post an emergency intervention. As a reminder, the school district is always informed of life-safety tips in order to work with local police.

The Crisis Center, as part of the triage process of a tip or when corresponding with a first-person at-risk individual, will contact the school district Say Something Anonymous Reporting System (SS-ARS) administrator(s) to request parent/student information in an emergency situation only (defined as imminent possibility of loss of life) in order to pass this information to local police. The school district SS-ARS administrator, at the moment of the request, can make the decision to provide the contact information or work with the police directly and not involve the Crisis Center.