LOCAL NEWS

Students can now use SafeUT app to report acts of kindness

Apr 13, 2018, 8:35 PM | Updated: Apr 14, 2018, 1:10 am

GRANTSVILLE, Utah – The SafeUT app was designed to help our kids deal with crises in their lives at home, and at school. Students can confidentially report bullying, a potential attacker at their school, or a fellow student who is thinking about hurting themselves. They can submit tips, or reach a counselor 24/7. Now, students can also use the SafeUT app to report acts of kindness.

“It’s contagious in a positive way,” said Marianne Oborn, Tooele County School District Counseling and Social Services Director. All schools in the district are engaged in the app and encourage students to use it.

Oborn is the district representative who gets all SafeUT tips that pertain to their schools.

“I get a text message every time a tip comes in,” she said.

She receives two or three tips every day, more in the spring.

“We know from data that this is the time of year that we see more suicides, and different things like that happen,” she said.

Most of the tips are related to the issues weighing on teens: suicide, depression, anxiety, bullying, harassment. But, a couple of weeks ago, on of the SafeUT tips really surprised her.

“I had never received one like this before,” Oborn said. “It was really cool because at the top of the tip,” right where it cites the category of tip, “This one said kindness. So, right off the bat I thought, ‘Oh wow, I didn’t know they had added that to the list.'”

A student had recognized Grantsville High School Senior Nikole Titara for, “being kind,” Nikole said.

“This is so amazing,” said the counseling director. “It just made my day.”

“It honestly has come naturally,” said Nikole.

When Nikole was six, her father took his own life. That changed the way she interacted with people around her, in a positive way.

“Because of that grief, I don’t want anybody else to go through that,” she said.

Nikole isn’t the only student inspiring classmates to spread their kindness around. Since the “kindness” category was added to the SafeUT app, there have been 85 similar tips statewide.

Last month, Lizzie Rawlings challenged students at Clarke N. Johnsen Junior High Student to commit random acts of kindness following the Florida school shooting.

“I wanted kids to look outside of themselves, and immediately the atmosphere in our school improved,” she said. “It was happier, and it felt more welcome.”

Rawlings believes the students have altered the culture at the school for the benefit of all.

“I know there are a lot of stresses at school,” said the junior high student. “Even just a smile or someone to talk to can relieve that stress.”

The counseling director agrees.

“If you’ve gone out of your way to help people, your mind is in a different place,” Oborn said.

And it’s making a safer Utah.

“If somebody needs help, I’m there to talk even if I don’t know what to say, just listening definitely helps some,” said Nikole.

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Students can now use SafeUT app to report acts of kindness