BEAVER COUNTY, Pa. (KDKA) — With facial coverings looped on ears and portable plastic barriers in their arms, students in the Beaver Area School District entered and exited the building with added protection.
They also have an increased sense of security through the Safe2Say Something app, which has been successful at tackling bullying and violence, according to the district.READ MORE: Two-Year-Old Boy Battling Cancer Dresses Up As His Doctor For Halloween
High school senior Sydney Cabbet told KDKA, “It just makes me feel safe to come to school and know that anything I feel needs to be reported will get solved.”
Using the free app, students can submit a tip, speak with a crisis hotline and learn more about what should be reported. This can include things like alcohol possession, animal abuse and dating violence.
Senior Anna Blum told KDKA that the app helps keep the peace among her peers.READ MORE: Pennsylvania's Jobless Rate, Labor Force And Payrolls Drop
“If someone talks about you and you hear about it, just gossip and drama. High school students especially don’t want people to feel like they’re snitching on them or tattle-telling or anything like that,” said Blum.
Superintendent Dr. Carrie Rowe said the number of tips submitted on the app has decreased from 60 to 15 this past year. But she does not find this indicative of some student’s true realities.
With numbers dropping significantly, school administrators are now finding additional ways of addressing safety concerns.
“We are asking teachers to check in on students and have those one-on-ones and have those small group meetings. We have our mental health therapist available for families and students,” said Rowe.MORE NEWS: Couple Facing Charges In Connection With Rental Assistance Fraud
The Pennsylvania Attorney General’s Office, which runs the app, told KDKA that it’s also working with developers to create ways to prevent students from abusing the system and submitting fake tips.