Colorado’s Safe2Tell System Has Prevented School Attacks; MI Adopts It


Since the beginning of this school year, reports of 16 planned attacks — that someone had a hit list or was coming to school with a gun — were made to Safe2Tell, the anonymous hotline where people can report threats, the Denver Post reports. In 2012, 42 planned school attacks were received, more than half in December after the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut. “Safe2Tell has stopped over 1,000 suicides from happening and about 31 school attacks, but they are totally underfunded,” says Bill Woodward of the Center for the Study and Prevention of Violence at the University of Colorado.

Since Safe2Tell was created in Colorado at the suggestion of the Columbine Commission in 2004, the hotline has received 282 reports of planned school attacks. All were investigated by law enforcement and school officials: 251 were classified as high-risk threats, and 31 were called very high risk — prevented just in time. “Explosives, hit list, plans — everything was ready to go,” executive director Susan Payne said. No one called Safe2Tell to report that Karl Pierson, 18, planned to attack Arapahoe High School before he opened fire Dec. 13, killing Claire Davis, 17, before turning his legally acquired shotgun on himself. Impressed with Colorado’s early-alert system, Michigan last week passed legislation to create a program modeled after Safe2Tell.

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