NASHVILLE, Tenn. — As students head back to school in Tennessee, state education officials want to make sure parents know about a tool that could help keep your child safe.
It's the SafeTN app, which parents are being urged to download before.
Here are examples of some of the common behaviors and incidents to report:
• Sexual misconduct
• Bragging about an upcoming planned attack
• Violence or planned violence
• Physical injury or harm to self or others
• Threats of violence
“Every Tennessean has an active role to play in ensuring school safety, and that starts with downloading the Safe TN app,” said Gov. Bill Lee. “As students return to school this month, the SafeTN app is an easy way for parents and guardians to quickly and confidentially report safety concerns.”
The app gives anyone the ability to anonymously report suspicious or concerning activity. The Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security will review, assess, and then send all submissions to law enforcement, mental health crisis response teams, and/or school administrators for intervention based on the information received.
In the next few weeks, Gov. Lee's administration will share data and next steps for the Governor’s recent executive order to enhance school safety throughout Tennessee. The executive order calls for evaluation of school security protocols and law enforcement responses for handling active shooter scenarios.
What does the executive order require for law enforcement?
According to the executive order, the Department of Commerce & Insurance (DOCI) must review the current law enforcement training standards that are used handle incidents involving active shooters and determine where improvements can be made.
Recommendations and suggestions must be submitted to Governor Lee with an evaluation report by July 1.
The order also requires the DOCI to evaluate the use of armed security guards in non-public schools, and it requires DOCI and the Department of Homeland Security to report the need for active-shooter training for armed guards.
What does the order require for schools?
The executive order requires schools to tighten up in several areas.
According to Governor Lee’s order, local school districts in Tennessee must publish an updated School Safety Plan Template by July 1.
Governor Lee’s executive order also requires each public school to complete an annual school security assessment.
The school safety plan states that local school districts must identify its specific struggles with school safety, detail its spending on building security and additional school safety initiatives that are meant to improve or mitigate the identified struggles with school safety, and designate a single point of contact for school safety matters for each individual district.
The order also instructs Tennessee state agencies to provide guidance to local school districts by completing regular audits to school safety plans, whether audits are completed remotely or through random in-person verification visits from state officials.
Learn more about Gov. Lee’s school safety priorities and download the free SafeTN app here.