Safe2Tell sees rise in tips about potential school threats

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GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KKCO/KJCT)-- Potential suicides, bullying and drug use are normally the most common tips reported to Safe2Tell, an anonymous way for students teachers and parents to alert authorities about school threats.

But since the deadly shooting massacre at a high school in Florida, Safe2Tell says it has seen an increase in tips about planned school attacks, with several being in Mesa County.

"We have more Mesa County Sheriff's officers patrolling at particular schools just based on Safe2Tells tips," said Emily Shockley a spokesperson for School District 51 in Mesa County.

There are more temporary, armed school security officers across the district and at schools that had been mentioned in Safe2Tell. Central and Palisade high school and Mount Garfield and Grand Mesa middle schools, specifically, have more deputies checking in on campus.

"The high schools are pretty big, so there's a lot more to look out for, and there are schools with more entry points," said Shockley.

"We're increasing our presence but it's not something that's unusual for us to do in the first place," said Terry Bridge, a school resource officer.

But because the number of recent tips of planned school attacks reported to Safe2Tell is abnormal, the Mesa County Sheriff's office is increasing their patrols.

"A typical week we have about 8 to 10 Safe2Tell tips," said Shockley.

District 51 has received 42 tips since Feb. 14, most of them on Tuesday night.

The Attorney General's office oversees Safe2Tell for the state.

"There certainly has been a peak or a spike since the shootings on Valentine's Day in Florida. We have had 154 reports of planned school attacks in one week," said Attorney General Cynthia Coffman.

To put that in perspective, in January alone, Safe2Tell got 55 school attack threat tips for all of Colorado.

"We are definitely seeing more of our school kids and sometimes parents and teachers using the Safe2Tell option to report," said Coffman. "The increase in reports obviously is concerning to us, but at the same time, this is what we want kids to do when they hear information or see something that concerns them because we don't want them to have to try and sort out if something is serious or not."

District 51 said they will keep the extra security guards at least for the rest of this week and into next week but don't have a specific stop-date.
They said they also plan to hire four more permanent security guards by next school year, bringing the district up to eight guards split between all of the schools.

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