An investigation by officers from the Quakertown Police Department found that on several dates in January and February, the teen used the mobile app to target three people in the false reports, claiming they were either going to harm themselves or others, police said. In each instance, local emergency response agencies responded to the teen’s bogus reports, officials said.
In March, the teen used the app to make threats of violence against members of Strayer Middle School and Quakertown Community High School, forcing police to close both schools. Because the threat referred to as explosives, police used a detection dog to search the entire school grounds.
“The threats were a disruption to the entire student body, employees of the Quakertown Community School District, and created panic in our communities,” Quakertown police said in a statement.
The charges mark the second recent arrest of a person involving false reports on the Safe2Say app. On March 24, an 18-year-old woman was charged with using the app to send a tip that someone was going to bomb and shoot up the Upper Bucks County Technical School, the DA’s office said. The school had closed for in-person instruction a week prior due to the threat.
Despite the two recent cases involving faux threats, the app has been “overwhelmingly successful in preventing suicides and other dangerous situations,” Bucks County District Attorney Matt Weintraub said.
“Safe2Say has led us to expose potential harms before they occur, and that’s the whole goal. To keep our kids safe in school,” he said. “I’m a huge proponent and believer in the Safe2Say program. It works, it saves lives and it’s doing what it’s designed to do.”
Safe2Say Something is an app run by the Pennsylvania Office of the Attorney General that allows students to anonymously report unsafe or threatening activities.
Quakertown School Resource Officer Robert Lee said the app is “a great tool when used for legitimate purposes, but those who abuse it will be prosecuted.”
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