Earlier this year Governor Wolf signed into law Act 44, which, among other things, will require School Districts to utilize an anonymous tipping line. With the “go-live” date quickly approaching, we have been gathering as much information as possible to be an extra ear and voice for you. Earlier this month, we held a conference call for administrators to call in and ask questions. After the conference call, we had a productive “Q&A” session of our own with members of the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s Office. Below are some of the questions that you asked us to get answered for you. You asked:
“Who are we required to train? When are we required to train them by and is this an ongoing or continual requirement?”
- Districts are required to train their “District Team” of 3-5 staff personnel before the “Go-Live” date of January 14, 2019. In addition, Districts are required to train students and their parents/guardians by the end of the 2018-2019 school year. Both trainings are an on-going requirement. There is no requirement to train staff outside your 3-5 member team.
“Who will be receiving tips at the Attorney General’s Office and what kind of training will they have? Will these people send us every tip they receive, or will they use some discretion?”
- The AG’s Office has hired new people specifically for this S2SS Program. They have only been extensively trained for this program and are not crisis counselors.
- The Investigative Analysts will use very little discretion when it comes to the tips. They will be trained to ask questions and get as much information as possible. If they are able to determine that a tip is truly fabricated, they will not pass it along. However, they will err on the side of caution.
“Will Districts be able to communicate via the app with the person giving the tip?”
- Yes; Districts have the option and discretion to communicate with the person giving the tip in order to further their investigation.
“How anonymous is this anonymous program?”
- While the S2SS Program will be monitoring and storing any information submitted, including IP Addresses, names, and phone numbers, the information will not be released to a District without a proper court order.
“Who is supposed to train the local and state police?”
- The Districts need to reach out to their local police to start this conversation. We would be happy to help you look at and revise your Safe Schools MOUs to make sure they cover this program.
- 911 Dispatch will be working with the State Police to ensure that they are ready for the tips to come to them.
The School Law Practice Group
at Stock and Leader monitors developments in all areas of school law. Please
contact us with any questions or concerns regarding the S2SS Program or other
areas of school law.