By Teta Alim
Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan unveiled the “Safe Schools Maryland” tip line Wednesday, where students across the state can report possible threats anonymously. There’s also a smartphone app.
WASHINGTON — Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan unveiled the “Safe Schools Maryland” tip line Wednesday, where students across the state can report possible threats anonymously. There’s also a smartphone app.
“All life-threatening tips will be immediately referred to local law enforcement and the local school system,” Hogan said at the Maryland Emergency Management Agency in Reisterstown. “Through the ‘Safe Schools MD’ app, students can text their concerns.”
Students, family members, school staff and other school community members can anonymously report concerns by calling 1-833-MD-B-SAFE (1-833-632-7233), by using the app that’s available through the Apple App Store or Google Play, or through the tip line’s website.
“Incidents of targeted violence at our schools are rarely sudden impulsive acts,” Hogan said. “Instead, in the majority of these incidents, another person, or persons, was aware of what the student was thinking or planning to do.”
Kiona Black, a training and exercise administrator at the Maryland Emergency Management Agency, said that within minutes, the system got a tip. “The first tip came in while the governor was speaking and I processed that while I was sitting in the room, and it was read and received within seven minutes,” Black said.
MEMA is coordinating the 24/7 tip line system with the Maryland Center for School Safety.
“Sadly, all too often, students, choose to remain silent because they are afraid of retaliation, rejection, or being stigmatized by their peers,” Hogan said. “We need to empower our students to break that code of silence.”
Instances of gun violence at schools has marked this year. In February, a gunman opened fire at Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, and killed 17. The next month, in St. Mary’s County, Maryland, a 16-year-old student was shot in the head by a 17-year-old gunman at Great Mills High School and later died.