Safe2Tell numbers hit record high with hundreds of reports of suicide, bullying, and school complaints

Megan Verlee/CPR News
Many school districts print the Safe2Tell information on the back of students’ ID badges.

With 3,224 reports, February saw the most reports to Safe2Tell in the program’s 20-year history.

Reports to the anonymous student reporting system, which started in 2004, show a 35 percent increase from the previous month, as Colorado students continue to struggle with mental health issues like suicidal thoughts and eating disorders.

February’s numbers make the reports to date for the school year 40 percent higher than the previous year.

“This unprecedented increase in report volume is unexpected,” said Safe2Tell Director, Stacey Jenkins. “The good news is more students than ever were connected with the help they needed, safeguarding our children’s wellbeing and safety.” 

School complaints (380), suicide (335), and bullying (322) were among the top categories of reports.  School complaints are usually about issues within the school itself. They are most often related to school security, staff, student conflict, and the school community. 

Reports this month included a person who reported a concern about a peer having an eating disorder. The student often made comments about the physical appearance of other students and used the school restroom for extended periods after lunch. Local teams spoke with the student and their parents, and the parents said they would check on the student.

Another incident involved a person reporting concerns about a student who had drugs on them and was feeling suicidal. Local law enforcement conducted a welfare check and spoke with the student and their parents. As a result, the student was put on a safety plan, the report said.

“While this increase in report volume is a sobering reminder of how much young people today are hurting, I’m encouraged by the fact that these students are being proactive in looking out for one another,” said Attorney General Phil Weiser in a news release.

In this school year, false reports are 3.8 percent of all reports submitted to Safe2Tell. False reports are those that contain untrue information and are submitted with the intent to harm, injure, or bully another person. Those numbers, while small, have been inching up over the years.

Once a student makes a tip about a safety issue, reports are distributed to local law enforcement and school officials depending upon the matter.