State launches new website to prevent violence in schools

State News

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (NEXSTAR) — The state is launching a new confidential tip line for students.

The goal is to help prevent violence and self harm by students by giving them access to a trained adult, without fear of repercussion at their own schools.

“I think what we’ve learned through our research is that kids really aren’t going to go and sit and talk to a guidance counselor about the things that are happening, right?” Rebecca Clark with the Illinois Emergency Management Agency said.

The Safe2Help hotline will is available to any student in Illinois. They can call the line and report concerns about bullying, safety threats and more.

“This program is not intended to suspend or expel or punish anyone,” Clark said. “It’s about making sure that we can get students to help that they need to seek help for harm.”

The idea for the hotline came after the parkland school shooting in florida. Nineteen districts have been part of the pilot program since 2019.

“Mainly what I like to see some resources heading into a local communities that can allow them to address the problems,” Democratic Senator Scott Bennett said.

Bennett has two kids in Champaign’s district. He has seen the district’s response after violence in and around its schools from both a lawmaker’s and a parent’s perspective. He says the solutions should come from the local level, but resources — like Safe2Help — should be coming from the state.

“Education is a local decision. And even district like mine that has 22 municipalities in it,” Bennett said. “The problems that the Champaign-Urbana may be dealing with are very different from a smaller, a smaller community.”

School districts can sign up to get information about school threats, but student’s information will be kept private.

More information can be found at Safe2HelpIL.com

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