Resource officer speaks with students about school safety

October 16-22, 2022 is recognized as Safe Schools Week and is sponsored by The National School Safety Center, state governors, and state school superintendents from across the country. The week seeks to help motivate key education and law enforcement policymakers, as well as students, parents, and community residents, to vigorously advocate school safety.

 

DeKalb CUSD 428 dedicates significant resources, personnel, and training to help ensure safety in our schools. A new safety initiative, Safe2Help Illinois, was introduced at the start of this school year to provide another important safety layer for the district. The new platform helps students, schools, and the community to easily report confidential information about activities or threats that are unsafe, potentially harmful, dangerous, violent, or criminal. The Safe2Help Illinois initiative is to ensure that every student, parent, teacher, and community member in Illinois has a safe and confidential way to report any concerns to their safety or the safety of others with a focus on early intervention and prevention through awareness and education. 

 

“Including Safe2Help to our information-sharing process gives us another important safety tool to add to our existing protocols,” said DeKalb CUSD 428 Safety Director Jose Jaques. “The platform allows students to take an active part in their own safety and ensures reporting individuals are able to maintain anonymity, which is a concern for many when they report safety threats.”   

 

According to Ready.Ilinois.gov, Safe2Help Illinois is founded on the idea that prevention and early intervention is the key to preventing violence and saving lives. The guiding principles of this safety and prevention initiative model include educating young people and school staff on critical issues; encouraging them to play a role in prevention; and equipping them with a tangible direct way to report confidentially while empowering them to make a difference. All reports and information received will be documented and disseminated to the appropriate school, law enforcement officials, emergency medical services personnel, and/or state human services agencies.

 

Once vetted, the tips will immediately be shared with local school officials, mental health professionals, and/or local law enforcement, depending on the nature of the tip. The program also will help local officials by connecting them with mental health resources or other appropriate resources to intervene and help students before they harm themselves or others.  

 

More about Safe2Help: 

 

Safe2Help Illinois is a 24/7 program where students can use a free app, text/phone, website (Safe2HelpIL.com), and other social media platforms to report school safety issues in a confidential environment. 

 

  • Similar school safety programs in other states have been assessed as effective in helping prevent acts of school violence. In fact, on the first day of Nevada’s program, a tip successfully thwarted a potential school attack.    
  • According to the Federal Bureau of Investigations, in 85 percent of mass shootings that occurred, someone knew something before the event took place.  These signs range from social media posting to observed signs of distress.  
  • Similarly, according to a U.S. Secret Service report, Analysis of Targeted School Violence, 77% of attackers threatened their targets or shared their intentions to carry out an attack.   
  • Within the last 15 years, in almost every case of a mass school shooting committed by a student in the United States, after-action reports indicate at least one other student knew something might happen and did not come forward for a variety of reasons.                             

 

This is a long-term initiative to change the school culture in Illinois.  

 

Safe2Help Community Video

 

Student Services “Ways to Get Help” poster.

 

Ready Illinois Press release: State of Illinois Launches New School Safety Initiative, Safe2Help Illinois

 

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