Hotline allows students, teachers to feel safe

By JOSH NICHOLS
Daily Press writer
Students or teachers in Colorado who are threatened, or have heard of a threat being directed at a school building, have a phone number available that they can call for help.
The Colorado Safe School Hotline is 1-877-542-SAFE, and is in place to encourage the reporting of threats or violence against teachers, students and school property.
"The hotline has been in place since the tragedy at Columbine," said Mikki Sirmans, manager in charge of identification with the Colorado Bureau of Investigation.
The hotline is a result of a collaborative effort by Gov. Bill Owens, Congressman Tom Tancredo, Colorado Dept. of Public Safety, Colorado Bureau of Investigation, Colorado Dept. of Education, Qwest and AT&T.
"The line is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week," Sirmans said. "Someone's always here to take a call."
Since the toll free number was implemented, Sirmans said the bureau has fielded 1,149 calls, 140 of which have been passed on to law enforcement agencies.
Some of the calls were inquiries or wrong numbers, she said.
"We're just a gathering place for information," she said. "We get as much information as we can then pass it on. We don't follow up on the calls."
The concept is similar to Crime Stoppers, a number people can call to anonymously report criminal activity.
"It's just another method of getting tips," she said.
Recently, an e-mail address was added that students and teachers can send a message to if they see a possible threat in their school.
The address is safe.schools@cdps.state.co.us.
When log an e-mail, people are asked to include:
School
County
Nature of call (weapons,
explosives, threats, ect.)
Time and date of incident.

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