Students, parents, and community members in Illinois are being reminded of a new program aimed at improving school safety.
The Illinois Emergency Management Agency is bringing attention to the state’s school safety hotline. Safe2Help Illinois is a free information-sharing platform that is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. In the absence of a trusted adult, students can use a free app, text message, phone call, or website to share school safety issues in a confidential environment.
IEMA spokesperson Rebecca Clark says anyone who sees or hears something concerning can report safely via the service. She says this is especially important right now.
“So in the wake of the deadly shooting at Oxford High School in Michigan, we’ve seen an uptick in school threats here in Illinois. And so right now is a really good time to remind the public about this free voluntary program. Students can use it, parents can use it, community members can use it.
Bottom line if you see something if you hear something, if you don’t have a trusted adult, Save2Help is available free and confidential to be able to take that information and make sure that it gets to the right hands.”
Five youths were arrested in separate incidents of making violent school threats this week in Sangamon County alone.
IEMA Director Aliecia Tate-Nadeau says “In almost every case involving a mass school shooting there was someone, usually a fellow student, who had some advance warning or reason to believe that violence was possible.
Safe2Help is not just for suspected school violence though, students can also reach out about depression, bullying, anxiety, and self-harm. IEMA says the program is not intended to suspend, expel or punish students; rather, the goal is to encourage students to “Seek Help Before Harm.”
Safe2Help Illinois is a free, voluntary program offered to public and private schools (grades K-12) in Illinois. Regardless of whether a school district is enrolled in the program, Safe2Help staff will vet all information received and forward it to the appropriate local contact whether or not they elect to formally participate in the program.
To find out more information or to use the service, go to safe2helpil.com, or text the number 72332.