Governor Larry Hogan today announced the launch of “Safe Schools Maryland,” a tip line and mobile app designed to streamline reporting of possible threats to students school facilities. The Governor says that incidents of targeted violence at Maryland’s schools are rarely sudden impulsive acts; instead, in the majority of these incidents, someone else was aware of what the student was thinking of or planning to do. When it comes to protecting our kids, we count on our local school communities, students, teachers, and parents to work together in these important efforts.
Students, family members, parents, teachers, administrators, and other community members can anonymously report information to Safe Schools Maryland via a mobile app available for download through the Apple App Store or Google Play, online at www.SafeSchoolsMD.org, or by calling 1-833-MD-B-SAFE (1-833-632-7233). Trained technicians will respond to reports 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year.
The tip line staff will share incoming information with appropriate school system officials and staff; law enforcement personnel; fire, emergency, behavioral health, and medical staff; and other partners to help prevent violent or dangerous incidents at schools around the state and provide assistance to students in crisis. Students, parents, teachers, administrative staff, and others should be vigilant and report any activity that makes them feel uncomfortable, nervous, or frightened about the safety of their school, themselves, or others.
In many recent school violence incidents or threats, assailants have exhibited behavior that signaled a potential for violent activity or discussed such activity on social media. Some potential incidents around the country have been thwarted because alert students, parents, school staff, or others reported suspicious behaviors to appropriate authorities.
Governor Hogan has asked MEMA to coordinate the school safety tip line and mobile app in partnership with the Maryland Center for School Safety. MEMA has trained existing staff and is hiring new staff to ensure that tip line calls and reports are answered 24/7.
The governor also announced that the Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE) was just awarded $3.6 million in federal school safety grants, which will supplement over $40 million in state funding provided in the Fiscal Year 2019 budget. A five-year, $2.6 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education will allow Maryland to implement the Maryland School Emergency Preparedness Program, a partnership between MSDE, local school systems, MEMA and local emergency managers. In addition, a three-year, $1 million grant from the U.S. Department of Justice will allow MSDE to implement a new violence prevention model in schools across the state.