Blue Ridge closes for threat investigation

The Blue Ridge schools closed Friday as law enforcement and district officials investigated several Safe2Say tips concerning issues pertaining to school safety.

“School officials and law enforcement thoroughly investigated each tip and we are confident that what was reported did not pose a threat,” Superintendent Matthew Button said.

Susquehanna Community School District also received a Safe2Say notification, confirmed Superintendent Bronson Stone. It, however, was found not to be credible.

Safe2Say Something is a youth violence prevention program run by the Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General.

Blue Ridge and Susquehanna were not alone in receiving threats last week. Threats were also reported at Dunmore and West Scranton, and in two western Pennsylvania school districts.

In a statement issued Friday, Button said Blue Ridge chose to close for the day: “…due to threats to other school districts in northeastern Pennsylvania and also throughout the state over the last several days we closed school to thoroughly investigate the significant volume of social media posts and Safe2Say tips we received late last night after the initial Safe2Say tip.”

He continued, “We want all of our students and families to know that we understand and sympathize that threats on our school are a serious concern and that the district will continue to make school safety our number one priority. Our goal, is and always has been, to provide a school environment where students feel safe and secure.”

Stone said his district worked with state police and that “no direct threat was issues to our school community by anyone.”

He said school districts across the state provided Safe2Say system training for students just before the series of false reports were made.

“(Safe2Say) is a cool system and it has some benefits,” Stone said, “but there are also repercussions” for the anonymous reporting system. “Nothing can be done.”

Stone said that school would “never be in session” if there were a credible threat.

Students can submit an anonymous tip report through the Safe2Say system. That report is then reviewed, assessed and processed by the crisis center and reports are sent to the school districts and law enforcement for intervention or investigation.

According to the Safe2SDay website, if needed the crisis center can contact the anonymous tipster through the app.

In the 2019 Safe2Say annual report, the tip line had received 23,494 tips from its launch in January this year through the end of June.

The top three reports made are bullying/cyberbullying; cutting/self-harm; and suicide/suicide ideation.

From NEIU 19  – of which Susquehanna County schools are a part of – Safe2Say received 647 tips.

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