• Fake threats through anonymous app creating concern for local parents

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    PITTSBURGH - After multiple bomb threats at a local high school and questions raised, is a statewide reporting system helping or hindering school districts?

    Fox Chapel Area High School closed two days in November because of bomb threats, and in each case the threat came from the Safe2Say Something app.

    Safe2Say Something is an anonymous reporting system set up by the Pennsylvania Attorney General's Office. It's been praised for helping identify students who are struggling with issues such as bullying and depression, but false threats are frustrating parents.

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    "We want a program to make it safe for our kids. Instead, it's just causing havoc," Jessica Miller, a Fox Chapel parent, said.

    A spokeswoman for the Fox Chapel Area School District said the anonymous nature of Safe2Say makes it difficult for police to track down false threats.


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    "As a school district, we have decided that we will notify our parents of threats received through Safe2Say, and we will continue to do so. However, we must strike a balance between ensuring students’ safety, yet not disrupting the educational process," the spokeswoman said.

    But lawmakers, such as Democrat Sen. Lindsey Williams, who represents Fox Chapel, said they aren't ready to overhaul the system.

    >>PREVIOUS STORY: State school safety tip system fielded 23K reports this year

    "That's such a small minority of what is being reported," Williams said. "The vast majority are calling in real, credible threats that school administrators can address and get students help."

    Since August, the Attorney General's Office confirmed to 11 Investigates they've received more tips for someone's life in danger than in the first six months combined. But at this point, they won't say if false tips are on the rise as well.


     

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