Upper Bucks Teen Charged for Making Threats using SAFEToSAY Something App
Press Release from the Bucks County DA’s office
A 14-year-old juvenile was charged Friday with making several false threats through the “Safe2Say Something” app from January to March 2021.
The juvenile faces five counts each of Terroristic Threats, False Reports to law enforcement authorities Disorderly Conduct and False Reports to the Safe2Say program. The Terroristic Threats charges are graded as third-degree Felonies and the other charges are third-degree Misdemeanors. The juvenile has been secured in the Bucks County Youth Center.
The Quakertown Police Department handled the investigation, finding that on several dates in January and February, the juvenile targeted three individuals in the false reports, claiming these individuals were either going to harm themselves or others prompting emergency response from local agencies.
In March, the juvenile used the app to make threats of violence towards staff, police, and individual at Strayer Middle School and Quakertown Community High School, forcing schools to close as police investigated the validity of the tips. The threats referred to explosives, prompting police to use an explosives detection dog to search the school. The threats were a disruption to the entire student body, employees of the Quakertown Community School District, and created panic in our communities.
“Safe2Say Something” is a youth violence prevention program run by the Pennsylvania Office of the Attorney General. Using a phone app, Safe2Say is used in all schools throughout the state, so students can anonymously submit reports of unsafe activities or threats. Bucks County District Attorney Matt Weintraub states, “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.”
Quakertown Borough Police Chief, Scott McElree, is “very proud of the Officers, School Resource Officer (SRO), and Detectives of the Quakertown Borough Police Department for taking the lead in this investigation and dedicating hundreds of hours that led to the successful outcomes. I would like to acknowledge and thank the FBI Regional Computer Forensics Laboratory, Bucks County District Attorney’s Office, Pennsylvania State Police, Richland Township Police Department, and the cooperation of the Quakertown Community School District.”
SRO Lee said “I am especially impressed with the willingness of the brave students who came forwarded to provide vital information that helped in the success of the investigation. The Safe2Say app is a great tool when used for legitimate purposes, but those who abuse it will be prosecuted.”