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August 05, 2019

Report: Anonymous tips from Pennsylvania students overwhelmingly concern mental health issues

The Safe2Say program received more than 23,400 contacts since January about bullying, self-harm and suicide

Education Bullying
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Bullying, self-harm and suicide are the most common issues facing students in Pennsylvania, according to a report released on Monday that allows teachers, students, and administrators to submit anonymous tips.

The Safe2Say report, conducted by the attorney general's office, said that since it began in mid-January, it received more than 23,400 anonymous tips through the end of June. Officials are saying that its findings detail the types of issues kids are dealing with in schools — namely non-violent issues focusing on mental health.

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The program is now mandated under a 2018 law which requires every school to have an anonymous reporting system for students who may be at risk of hurting themselves or others. Students and teachers are also being trained on how to recognize signs of individuals who may be at risk. 

Since January, more than 860,000 Pennsylvania middle- and high-school students have received the training. But tips can be reported by students and adults in all K-12 schools. 

Most of the tips were about bullying and cyber-bullying — which was reported 3,558 times — followed by self-harm, suicide, and depression and anxiety, the report said.

"The majority of tips received by Safe2Say have not been about students making violent threats to their school or to their classmates — instead, they have been focused on students struggling with mental health issues," the report said. "The numbers in this report show the reality of what our children are facing in school as they struggle with bullying, anxiety and thoughts of self-harm."

There were 607 reports of a threat against the school and 523 threats against a person, the report said.

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