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'SafeTN' app provides parents, students with outlet to report potentially harmful situations in schools

Tennessee security officials remind parents of safety app as new school year begins
Posted at 3:56 PM, Aug 01, 2022
and last updated 2022-08-01 19:11:01-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Many parents live with the same fear: are their children safe at school? But officials with the Tennessee Department of Safety & Homeland Security want to remind of a tool that could make reporting possibly harmful situations easier.

"There's been a lot in the news lately about school security, particularly in the wake of the Uvalde shooting in Texas," said Department Director Greg Mays.

The SafeTN app launched three years ago, following the Marjory Stoneman Douglas school shooting. Now, after yet another shooting — this time in Uvalde — state security leaders are promoting the new and improved version of the app.

"We made some significant improvements in creating drop-down menus, making it easier for students or parents or anyone in the community to accurately explain to us what's going on," Mays said.

The app gives anyone the ability to anonymously report potentially harmful situations. Those reports will go directly to the Department of Safety & Homeland Security.

"So, that might mean that a Tennessee Homeland Security agent will go out directly and talk to people and find out what's going on," said Mays. "It may mean that we pick up the phone and call the local police department or sheriff's office or school resource officer or whoever is in that area."

But the app can also be used in times of mental health crises. "[The SafeTN app can] lead you to mental health and substance abuse assistance, suicide hotlines, or if you're being bullied you have... a 1-800 number: Tennessee School Violence Hotline," said Mays.

Regardless of whether you use the app or confront a teacher in person, Mays said the important thing is to say something.

"What concerns me the most, in terms of threats, is the ones I don't know about, because how can I do anything if I don't know about it at all?" Mays said.