‘Safe Utah’ program now available to elementary students at Canyons School District

Posted at 5:58 PM, Aug 30, 2016
and last updated 2016-08-30 19:58:45-04

SANDY, Utah — Elementary school students in the Canyons School District can now use a smartphone app to report safety concerns anonymously.

The "Safe Utah" app, originally released in January, allows students to text in any safety concerns for free, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The app provides students with confidential and anonymous two-way communication with crisis counselors or school staff. App users have the options to "Call Crisisline," "Chat Crisisline" or "Submit a Tip." The crisis line is staffed by the University of Utah Neuropsychiatric Institute (UNI),

“They just open up the app and can send off the message whether it`s a bullying issue, a harassment issue, a discrimination issue, a safety issue, or if they're just feeling sad and want to talk to somebody,” said Jeff Haney, spokesman for Canyons School District.

Haney says students feel more comfortable using the app rather than making a call to solicit help. If anything, they’re more inclined to look out for others who may be struggling.

“It could be a friend who is seeing something in their classmate and they need someone to step in and say 'How can I help you?',” said Haney.

With the positive results they’re seeing so far, Canyons is going to offer the resource to its elementary students beginning Wednesday.

Nicky Garcia’s kids attend Sandy Elementary School. She says the program is another tool to help teach her kids to speak up if they sense trouble.

“I think any kind of available thing there is out there that helps our children feel safe or help us know what is going on with our child is really important,” Garcia said.