Wisconsin Lawmakers Fund ‘Speak Up, Speak Out’ Anonymous Tip Line for Schools

The tip line was previously in danger of not being funded by the Wisconsin legislature despite receiving more than 11,000 tips.

MADISON, Wisc. – Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers has signed a law that will provide bridge funding for the state’s Department of Justice Office of School Safety (OSS). The funding will keep alive the Speak Up, Speak Out 24/7 tip line that students, school staff, parents, and other members of the community can use to report concerning behavior.

Assembly Bill 1050 received bipartisan support and will fund OSS through September 2025, reports The Daily Union. OSS was created with overwhelming bipartisan support by former Gov. Scott Walker in 2018 after the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School mass shooting in Parkland, Florida, that killed 17 students and staff members. Speak Up, Speak Out was launched in 2020, reports The Cap Times.

However, the tip line came close to being shut down when a legislative committee previously refused to pay for the office after federal funding ran out last December. In response to that refusal, school safety advocates from across the nation — some of whom have had their own children die in school shootings – put pressure on Wisconsin lawmakers to reverse the committee’s refusal to adequately fund the OSS.

Although the tip line will continue to be funded through September 2025, AB 1050 is just a stop-gap measure.

Speak Up, Speak Out has received more than 11,000 tips since its inception. It received 95% more tips in the 2022-2023 school year than in the previous year.

Many other states, such as Michigan, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Nevada, Colorado, and Wyoming, have anonymous tip lines so students, parents, teachers, and the general public can share information about potential violence, as well as mental health issues. Sandy Hook Promise also has an anonymous tip program where information on individuals who may be a risk to themselves or others can be submitted through their secure website, hotline, and app.

Although anonymous school tip lines were originally created to prevent school shootings, more often they are used to report threats of suicide or self-harm, Campus Safety previously reported.

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About the Author

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Robin has been covering the security and campus law enforcement industries since 1998 and is a specialist in school, university and hospital security, public safety and emergency management, as well as emerging technologies and systems integration. She joined CS in 2005 and has authored award-winning editorial on campus law enforcement and security funding, officer recruitment and retention, access control, IP video, network integration, event management, crime trends, the Clery Act, Title IX compliance, sexual assault, dating abuse, emergency communications, incident management software and more. Robin has been featured on national and local media outlets and was formerly associate editor for the trade publication Security Sales & Integration. She obtained her undergraduate degree in history from California State University, Long Beach.

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