SafeUT app helps Washington County schools respond to critical incidents; 2 new features added

Stock image | Photo by Poike/iStock/Getty Images Plus, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — Use of the SafeUT app by Southern Utah students has already resulted in success stories this school year.

One student used the app to report an incident the first day of school last Monday, said Richard Holmes, assistant superintendent of secondary education for Washington County School District.

Holmes couldn’t give specifics on the type of incident or what school it occurred at because of privacy policies. However, he said a SafeUT representative immediately called the school, and school administrators were able to resolve the issue in a quick manner.

The app was created in 2016 and provides crisis intervention to youth through texting and a confidential tip line, providing students anonymous two-way communication with SafeUT crisis counselors or school staff via one-touch options.

Read more: SafeUT Crisis, Safety Tipline unveiled for Utah students

All secondary schools in WCSD are registered to use the app, said Steven Dunham, communication and public relations director for Washington County School District.

Our head counselor reviews any notices that may have come in and makes sure the respective administrators have or are following up on those notices,” Dunham told St. George News.

The app is mostly used among intermediate, middle and high school students, Holmes said, noting that most elementary students don’t have cellphones. Washington County School District first enrolled its schools with the app in 2017.

“There has definitely been an increase in usage since then,” Holmes said.

Utah Attorney General Sean D. Reyes announced two new features of the app this month: a parent/educator button and access to services for higher education institutions.

The parent/educator button provides the opportunity for educators and parents to ask questions, find resources and submit information to help protect students and schools, according to a press release from the Utah Attorney General’s Office.

Adding access to the app for higher education institutions will provide college students support when dealing with mental and behavioral health issues, as well as allowing college administrators respond to potential threats.

Since its creation, the SafeUT app has been downloaded over 33,000 times, according to a report from the Utah AG’s office. Clinicians using the app have had conversations with over 19,000 students regarding topics of bullying, depression, suicide, self-harm and drugs.

Learn more about the app at the SafeUT website.

Email: mheckenliable@stgnews.com

Twitter: @STGnews | @markeekaenews

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2018, all rights reserved.

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