CLACKAMAS COUNTY, Ore. – In a school safety task force meeting Wednesday, Oregon law enforcement and school district leaders are stressing the importance of a program called SafeOregon.
The tip line makes it easy for students to anonymously report concerns about safety at school. They can do so 24 hours a day in five different ways.
“They can go to our website, they can download our mobile application, they can text, they can email or can give us a call,” said SafeOregon Project Manager Jodi Sherwood.
“We are getting tips coming in that are threats to our schools,” said Clackamas County Sheriff Craig Roberts. “We are responding as a state. Obviously what’s happening in Florida and across the country, the threats that have come out, it’s very dear to everyone on this task force to do everything we can to protect kids.”
Sherwood says since the Parkland, Florida school shooting, SafeOregon has seen a steep increase in tips. While it’s geared towards pre-K through 12th grade, the tip line has helped in university settings as well.
Oregon State Police said Tuesday that a SafeOregon tip led them to Christopher Strahan. They say he tweeted threats about killing people at Oregon State University.
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“Those tips are making a difference in making our schools safe already,” said safety task force vice chair Dr. David Novotney, who is also Superintendent of the Willamette Educational Service District.
Novotney said perhaps the most important first step in protecting students is assessing the threat, something SafeOregon helps with on a regular basis. “Prevention is key to keeping our schools as safe as possible. Keeping our students and staff safe," he said.
“We know that we have helped students,” Sherwood said. “We know we have saved lives, and we want to continue that effort.”
To date, she said 830 schools across the state are using the tip line, with more schools added every day.