Several Westmont Hilltop Junior-Senior High School students made calls to the Safe2Say hotline last week with concerns about a student who they believed could have harmed other students, Upper Yoder Township police Chief Donald Hess said.

Safe2Say is a program run by the Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General that allows students to call an anonymous hotline to report concerns of school violence.

Hess said a joint investigation by Upper Yoder Township police and West Hills police determined there was no active threat. Additionally, there were no charges filed as a result of the investigation.

“The students contacted the attorney general tip line as they’ve been taught through the school district,” he said.

“They did what we asked them to do.

“I’m grateful for that. The system worked.”

He said the callers noticed signs of potential danger from the student’s behavior.

“They were being good Samaritans in being around the person in school and some communication outside of school,” Hess said.

Citing the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, Westmont Hilltop Superintendent Thomas Mitchell declined to say what action steps the district took for the student after the investigation.

In an email, he said the Safe2Say program was a positive addition to the culture of safety at Westmont Hilltop.

“Throughout the school year, we educate students about the process of making an anonymous tip through the Safe2Say portal, and we display the Safe2Say promotional materials throughout our schools for easy student access,” he said.

When a tip is received, it is screened by the attorney general’s office and passed along to the school district and local police, depending on the nature of the report.

“Not all Safe2Say reports are threats or considered life-safety,” he wrote.

“Depending on the nature of the report, we immediately begin addressing the situation to ensure the safety of our students and staff. If warranted, the report is investigated internally through our threat assessment process in conjunction with local police departments.”

Russ O'Reilly is a reporter for The Tribune-Democrat. Follow him on Twitter @RussellOReilly.

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