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State launches 24/7 school threat tip line, resource center

Published: Sep. 2, 2020 at 1:13 PM CDT
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GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) - The state has launched a new 24/7 resource center for people with concerns about school safety and threats.

It’s called SPEAK UP, SPEAK OUT. Wisconsin Attorney General Josh Kaul announced the program Wednesday. It’s part of the DOJ’s Office of School Safety.

SPEAK UP, SPEAK OUT includes a 24/7 threat reporting system, critical incident response, and threat assessment.

“This new, free 24/7 school safety tool is available to support school communities across the state in preventing school violence. Whether students are concerned for their own safety or the safety of others, Speak Up, Speak Out can assist them in getting the help they need,” said Attorney General Kaul.

Although many school districts are starting the school year virtually, Kaul said the SPEAK UP, SPEAK OUT initiative may be even more critical right now.

“A lot of students don’t encounter as many trusted adults as they would in normal circumstances and this gives students an opportunity to have somebody they can contact if they have a school safety concern,” said Kaul.

“Students are usually one of the first to know when something is happening between their peers. This SPEAK UP, SPEAK OUT allows students who hear or see a threat to say something,” said Carolyn Stanford Taylor, state superintendent. “It’s quick, easy and confidential and could mean the difference in saving a life.

Students, parents and staff member can anonymously fill out a threat report online, or through the social media app called ’Speak up, Speak out Wisconsin.’ When a threat is submitted, it will be immediately looked at by an analyst with the Department of Justice.

“These are analysts who are trained to respond to school safety issues or mental health issues, and the kind of response that they have will depend on what type of concern is reported,” said Kaul.

Staff will communicate with local school administrators, law enforcement and counselors. Kaul said most cases will lead to analysts contacting a school or teacher to intervene and address the issue of concern, such as bullying. However, if it’s a significant threat, law enforcement officials will be contacted along with a critical incident response team.

“There will be regionally based critical incident response teams and that’s so that if there is a critical incident in any part of the state, there are people who are trained to respond to that incident specifically in the school setting,” said Kaul. “They can respond quickly so that time isn’t wasted as they respond to those incidents.”

The program is funded by $2 million in grants from the U.S. Department of Justice Bureau of Justice Assistance.

How to submit a tip or report a threat

ONLINE: https://speakup.widoj.gov/

PHONE: 1-800-MY-SUSO-1 (1-800-697-8776)

MOBILE APP FOR IPHONE AND ANDROID, search ’Speak Up, Speak Out Wisconsin’

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