New bullying hotline fully deployed throughout Nevada
Every school in Nevada is now interconnected into the SafeVoice Communications Center – 24 hours per day, seven days per week – starting in 2018, according the Nevada Department of Education.
“SafeVoice includes and goes beyond bullying to create a confidential way to also report threats of school violence and friends at risk of suicide, self-harm, drugs and more,” said Christy McGill, Nevada Department of Education Director of the Office for a Safe and Respectful Environment. “It is another door in the no wrong door approach to student wellness and school safety. It is intended to be a tool for schools and districts to integrate into their systems of student supports.”
Students can use the SafeVoice tool to report concerns about their friends or themselves by visiting www.safevoicenv.org, calling 833-216-SAFE or downloading the SafeVoice app.
SafeVoice was the brainchild of former State Senator Debbie Smith and enacted into law in 2017 by legislation sponsored by Senator Heidi Gansert. The Department of Education’s Office for a Safe and Respectful Learning Environment has partnered with Nevada’s Department of Public Safety to implement the SafeVoice program. Nevada’s DPS Investigation Division manages the SafeVoice Communications Center which is aligned with the Nevada Threat Analysis Center.
“Student safety is a priority,” said James Wright, Nevada Department of Public Safety Director. “Since the inception of the program, our Communications Specialists have received over 2,500 tips, and by working together with the Department of Education, local and school law enforcement agencies, and the individual County School Districts, we have helped save lives.”
After the SafeVoice Communications Center fields a tip and determines the engagement level of law enforcement, it then passes along the information to the school team that by Nevada law is comprised of a school administrator, counselor and or a social worker. The school team will then determine how to best respond using existing school protocols.
The SafeVoice program is grounded in best practices research. The Nevada Departments of Education and Public Safety partnered with Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation (PIRE) to secure a grant from the National Institute of Justice (2016-CK-BX-0007) to support the implementation of the tip line and to research the extent to which the tip line, coupled with the multidisciplinary teams, prevent harmful events. Nevada’s approach is to integrate education, law enforcement, and behavioral health agencies in response to student concerns and school safety threats brought forward through this new reporting system. SafeVoice empowers students to report any situation that may put their friends, themselves or their school at risk. In the classroom, teachers have materials to discuss risky behaviors and steps students can take to stop or prevent issues.
“Together the Nevada Legislature and Governor Sandoval have for several years recognized the importance of supporting children with investments in school social workers, the NDE Office for a Safe and Respectful Learning Environment, bullying and suicide prevention legislation and programs,” said Steve Canavero, Ph.D., Superintendent of Public Instruction. “SafeVoice is increasing the ability of students and their parents to bring concerns to light and for them to receive a rapid and effective response.”
“With the new SafeVoice reporting system, it means that somebody is there at any time, day or night, to take reports and respond appropriately,” said Assistant Superintendent Tammy Malich. “The SafeVoice system offers students and parents a number of ways to make reports and this will help to make our schools a safer place. We would like to encourage parents to download the app on their phones and their children’s phones, so they have the ability to make reports at any time.”