MADISON, Wis. — A new report released Monday from the Wisconsin Dept. of Justice Office of School Safety shared statistics of how the Speak Up, Speak Out tip line has kept students safe in schools across the Badger State.

The state Dept. of Justice, led by Democratic Attorney General Josh Kaul, now hopes those numbers convince lawmakers to fund the program permanently in the next biennial budget.

Since the statewide confidential reporting system started in Sept. of 2020, there have been nearly 4,000 tips.


Safety is a big part of Nicholas Reichhoff's job as director of student policy and school operations at Sun Prairie Area School District.

“Sometimes we receive reports from students who are concerned about a friend who may harm themselves, or a concern about bullying,” Reichhoff explained.

Reichhoff doesn't always deal with large-scale threats. A vague, but troubling post on social media was among the most recent reports resolved thanks to the tip line.

“The analysis confirmed that the picture had made rounds on social media and was not specific to Sun Prairie,” said Reichhoff. “That information was crucial in our review of the situation and helped us make the determination that the threat was not credible.”


Recently, SUSO received more than 70 tips in one night for eight different Wisconsin schools — all referencing the same image on social media. Analysts were able to notify all involved districts of the tips and provide resources on how to evaluate anonymous threats, and offer support to every school impacted.

Generally, tips can be resolved in about three days, with the average outcome resulting in parental notification and disciplinary action by the school.

“It's often friends, families [and] neighbors who receive information well before the cops,” Deputy Josalyn Longley with the Dane Co. Sheriff's Office, said. “Through platforms like Speak Up, Speak Out, anyone can anonymously report concerns without fear of retaliation.”

During SUSO's second year of operation, reports to the tip line increased by 15.2%. Bullying and suicide were the two most reported tips.

In the last school year, SUSO received 136 potentially life-saving tips.

“You can tell from those numbers, folks across the state are using Speak Up, Speak Out to get information about school safety,” Attorney General Josh Kaul said during a recent press conference at Sun Prairie East High School.

Kaul is seeking funds to keep the program operational. OSS was initially funded by a more than $2 million grant from the U.S. Dept. of Justice Bureau of Justice Assistance.

Right now, nearly $1.8 million of American Rescue Plan Act funds are covering the costs of the office, but those dollars end in Dec. 2023.

“We're going to be asking the legislature to permanently fund the Office of School Safety,” Kaul said. “We've heard from folks around the state about this program, how it works, how it makes a difference in kids' lives, and, ultimately, how it's keeping kids in Wisconsin safe.”

Whether you are a parent, student, teacher, or community member, reports to SUSO can be made 24 hours a day, 7 days a week:

You can learn more about the SUSO Resource Center, here.