Wisconsin school safety text tips now available: DOJ

Wisconsin Department of Justice (DOJ) Office of the Attorney General

The Wisconsin Department of Justice Office of School Safety announced the "Speak Up, Speak Out" confidential reporting system now offers text tips, officials announced Tuesday.

The new feature allows tipsters to report concerning behavior without visiting the "Speak Up, Speak Out" website or downloading the mobile app. Tipsters can text "SUSO" to 738477 and make a report via a direct link to the tip form.

"Speak Up, Speak Out" launched in September 2020. The 24/7 statewide system is free to all Wisconsin schools with the goal "to promote the reporting of concerns before violence happens."

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According to the DOJ:

  • More than 1,700 schools and law enforcement agencies in Wisconsin have received at least one tip from "Speak Up, Speak Out" since its inception.
  • To date, "Speak Up, Speak Out" has received more than 7,000 contacts, with half of those coming in the 2022-2023 school year alone.
  • Between May 2022 and May 2023, 63 of Wisconsin’s 72 counties received at least one tip.

The Office of School Safety was initially supported by more than $2 million in federal STOP School Violence Act grant funding from the U.S. Department of Justice Bureau of Justice Assistance. Operations were later extended with more than $1.8 million in American Rescue Plan Act funding.

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Without additional funding and position authority, the DOJ said the office's services will "cease to exist." The DOJ requested approximately $2 million to permanently fund the office in the 2023-2025 biennial budget, but the Legislature voted against including this funding. The DOJ is currently exploring other options to secure the funding and positions needed.

"Speak Up, Speak Out" reports can be made 24 hours a day, 7 days a week:

Statement from Attorney General Josh Kaul:

"The Office of School Safety provides high-quality programs and trainings to help keep Wisconsin schools safe. Adding another way to report safety concerns can only make Speak Up, Speak Out even more effective – so long as the tipline is able to continue operating."