100/365 Bullying in Colorado: Part 4 of 7

This 7-part series will cover the history of bullying legislation and anti-bullying efforts within the state of Colorado beginning with the first definition of bullying by the Legislature in 2001.

Making it Safe-To-Tell

Standing on the initial 2001 bullying law and amid the work of the Colorado Trust, the Colorado Legislature made an important move in 2007 to make it easier for the victims of bullying and those witnessing bullying to speak up and alert authorities. Senate Bill 07-197 created Colorado’s Safe-2-Tell Hotline.  Based off of U.S. Secret Service reports that “in 75 percent of dangerous or violent incidents in schools, someone other than the attacker knew the incident was going to happen but did not report or act on that knowledge,” the hotline was an extension of the national Safe-2-Tell program.

The hotline was established “with the primary purpose of providing students, teachers, other school employees, and the community with a means to relay information anonymously…”

Though no mention of an intent to prevent or act as a reporting mechanism specifically for incidents of bullying was described in the establishment of the hotline, such benefits were listed in the enumeration of the successes of the national program. Indeed, it should be taken as a sign of increasing safety whenever an act of prevention is established by policymakers.

Perhaps it was for the best that bullying was not mentioned as some adults and youth could be unclear as to what constitutes bullying. The hotline leaves to the authorities the decision of whether an act is bullying or not and takes that responsibility out of witnesses’ and victims’ hands.