District 300 families,
Student safety continues to be at the forefront for communities and school districts everywhere and rightfully so. The incident yesterday at a St. Louis area high school illustrates this point. Here in Du Quoin, we want to continue to provide a safe learning environment and resources to help our parents, teachers, students, and staff be successful.
This school year our school district will begin participating in a new statewide school safety program called Safe2Help Illinois. This program will offer students a safe and confidential way to share information that may help prevent bullying, school violence, and other threats to student safety.
Safe2Help Illinois features a 24/7 helpline (1-844-4-SAFEIL), free mobile app, and dedicated website (www.Safe2Helpil.com). In the absence of an available trusted adult, students can use Safe2Help Illinois to share concerns about themselves or others in a confidential environment. Once vetted, the information will be immediately shared with local school officials and/or 911 call centers, depending on the nature of the tip. The intent of this program is to encourage students to “seek help before harm,” with the goal of intervening and helping students before they harm themselves or others.
During a crisis, the person on the receiving end of the call has the most important job: to remain calm and provide the necessary resources to successfully defuse a situation.
The analyst taking the calls for Safe2Help Illinois have experience and education in social service and community stabilization settings. As part of their onboarding process, analysts are required to complete 40-hours of training, plus an additional 20 hours of ongoing training each quarter. This includes handling suicidal or homicidal callers, responding to imminent danger, caring for very young callers, mandated reporter training and more.
The most common reports received by Safe2Help Illinois in the 2021-2022 school year have been bullying and threats of self-harm. This sobering information underscores the importance of making sure our students have the resources they need in a time of need. We also believe Safe2Help Illinois has the potential to be effective in preventing acts of school violence. Over the last 15 years, in almost every case of a mass school shooting in the U.S. committed by a student, after action reports indicate at least one other student knew something might happen but did not come forward for a variety of reasons.
Long-term goals of Safe2Help Illinois are to remove the stigma associated with mental health issues, promote a culture of kindness, and instill important lessons such as the difference between telling and tattling, internet safety, and suicide prevention.
Visit Safe2HelpIL to learn about the resources for your child -- and for you.