An anonymous tipster app marketed to Wyoming students clocked a record number of reports in 2019, with suicide being most frequently reported concern.
The Safe2Tell launched in October 2016, first in the Natrona County School District and later in the entire state. The app is designed to allow students to anonymously report safety or health concerns — both their own and that of their classmates — to school officials and to law enforcement.
In the 2019 calendar year, more than 1,750 tips were sent from across the state. That’s an increase of 37 percent from 2018, according to a report sent out by the Safe2Tell program, and nearly doubled the tips sent by the program in its roughly three-year run.
“The increase shows the level of trust students have in the program and their willingness to take on the responsibilities needed to report concerning behaviors,” Bill Morse, the manager of the program, said in a statement.
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Two hundred-thirty nine of last year’s tips concerned suicide, according to the report. It remains the most-reported topic in the app’s history. Suicide in Wyoming, particularly among younger people, has been a troubling trend in recent years. A national report released last year showed that the suicide rate among Wyoming teens had risen 40 percent in three years. The Equality State consistently has one of the highest suicide rates in the nation.
The second-most reported safety concern was vaping, which wasn’t even a reportable category before 2019. The app received 229 tips about vaping last year, as school districts — including Natrona County — began to grapple with the rise of e-cigarette use and a national outbreak of vaping-related lung disease afflicted thousands and killed dozens.
At 193 tips, bullying was the third-highest reported issue last year, according to Safe2Tell. Rounding out the top five were tips about students selling or using drugs (179 tips) and concerns about self harm (127 tips).
There were 45 reports of a planned attack and 44 reports of sexual misconduct. In Natrona County alone, there have been several lockouts at various Casper schools because of tips — all unfounded or deemed false — made via Safe2Tell. The messages sent via the app are routed both to the Wyoming Highway Patrol and to the appropriate school district; various building principals and administrators will also be looped in, depending on the circumstances.
Safe2Tell can be used via its app, by phone calls or by using its website.