‘Speak Up, Speak Out’ Wisconsin school safety tip line sees 15% increase in reports

MADISON, Wis. — The Wisconsin Department of Justice says its “Speak Up, Speak Out” school safety reporting system saw a 15.2% increase in tips reported during last school year, with most of the reports concerning cases of bullying.

The program, which was rolled out in September 2020, has generated more than 4,000 tips since it started, including 1,951 from August 1, 2021 to July 31, 2022, according to an annual report released Monday. A total of 326 schools in Wisconsin received at least one tip in the last year.

Of the reports made in the last year, more than a quarter of them (26.4%) were for instances of bullying. A total of 6.7% of tips were for suicide threats, 6.5% were for drugs, and 5% were for guns or weapons that were brought to school. State officials say those numbers are in line with national averages, where bullying and suicide threats are also the two most-commonly reported tips.

The program’s goal is to have students, school staff, and community members share their concerns before violence happens at a school.

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More than 70% of tips generated by the program last year were delivered to the school or local law enforcement for follow-up. Parents were notified in 34% of the tips submitted, and the school took disciplinary action in 19% of the cases. The program requires the school or local law enforcement to complete a disposition report to detail the outcome of the tip.

You can read more about the program’s results in the past year here.

Reports can be made at any time — 24 hours a day, seven days a week — online at speakup.widoj.gov, by calling 1-800-MY-SUSO-1 (1-800-697-8761), or on the mobile app, which is available on both Apple and Android phones.

The program was initially funded by a $2 million federal grant, and is currently being run on $1.8 million in funding from the American Rescue Plan Act, which expires in December 2023. The Wisconsin Department of Justice says it is pushing for the state legislature to permanently fund the program starting with the next biennial state budget.