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D51 Implementing Bullying Protocols

GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. - One way school and law enforcement officials are alerted to threats is by parents and students reporting them using an app called Safe2Tell.

It can be used to report everything from school threats to bullying incidents, but how effective is it?

Tuesday the number of tips jumped from the normal average of 8 to more than 30. But when it comes to dealing with bullying issues District 51 said they are working on improving things.

After a mother found out her son was a victim of bullying, she hoped help was just a text away. 

April, the mother of a bullying victim said, "There's several times where Safe2Tell has been used and nothing has come of."

But now April wants answers. She's questioning the app and the school district on how the system works.

"Who's judging whether it met some criteria and what is that criteria. There's no action, why are they going to keep using it if nothing changes."

Student and parents can send in tips that are directed to the Colorado State Patrol Dispatch Center in Pueblo which are then transferred to the 911 Center in Grand Junction, law enforcement and the Director of Security in District 51.

They're also sent to the specific school impacted and D51 says principals follow up with bullying investigations at the school.

"Several of us at the district level get those tips and there are dispositions that go in there to see what exactly the principal did during that investigation and how it concluded," said Katie Gardner, who has been assigned by the district to focus specifically on bullying issues.

She said, "We obviously prioritize the ones that are eminent threats, so if a kid is in direct threat or direct harm, then those go to the top of the line."

And because of the increase in school bullying incidents the district is also implementing new protocols.

She said, "Working on a reporting form right now just like we have a form for threat assessment and suicide risk assessment, we'll also have a bullying investigation form," with a determination to help many besides just the one being victimized.

Gardner said, "The nice thing about it in what we really want to see is support for both the victim and the person who is bullying."

And when it came to the idea of parents being involved in the process, District 51 says conversations between school officials and parents is a main concern.

"Parents feel like they're not being communicated with and so we're trying to help bring that communication gap."

For April she hopes the new procedures will be a step in the right direction, "I think we just need to come together as a community and step up for these children," ensuring no other child's bullying is ignored.

If you or anyone you know has been bullied you can anonymously call Safe2Tell at 1-877-542-7233.

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