Numbers Show Hundreds Of Potential School Threat Tips Submitted Through SafeUT App
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah — After a school shooting in Santa Clarita, California, left two dead and three wounded Thursday, some who work on the front lines of prevention in Utah said an app designed for confidential reporting has staved off numerous potential acts of school violence in the Beehive State.
“We’ve thwarted many school attacks and school situations where students were bringing guns to school,” said Barry Rose, clinical manager of the University of Utah’s University Neuropsychiatric Institute and a SafeUT commission member.
Newly-released numbers for the SafeUT app — which was designed to be a reporting tool on matters such as school threats, suicide, bullying and cyberbullying — showed the app received 891 potential school threat tips from July 2017 through October 2019, identifying 536 unique potential school threats.
From Nov. 1, 2018, to Oct. 31, 2019, 422 tips identified 266 unique potential threats — alarming numbers even to those who are used to seeing them.
“It is very worrisome and it worries all of us,” Rose said.
Rose said the numbers reflect reports of possible school threats and weapons brought to school, including guns and knives.
As a result of the reporting, Rose said law enforcement even uncovered some bombmaking equipment and found two guns in a student’s backpack.
According to Rose, the app experienced its busiest month to date in October, with more than 3,700 tips and live chats on all topics.
With a reporting program that is run by mental health professionals, Rose said the SafeUT app has become a successful model that is drawing interest from across the country.
“We’re getting inquiries from other states all the time now,” he said.
Rose said he hoped the app would continue to be an effective tool to stave off future threats.
“Students now at least have this tool and they’re using it,” he said. “We feel like it is making a difference.”