Empowering the youth to speak up can help save lives

For a young man, Conner Mertens has had quite an impactful life.

Most people know Conner as the brave, vocal activist who made headlines by being the first openly LGBTQ college-football player as a freshman kicker at Willamette University in Oregon. But I came to know the Tri-Cities native when he showed up at my door with an idea for saving the lives of students at risk of suicide, bullying and various other forms of school violence.

That idea — a tip line and mobile app to allow students to confidentially report potential self-harm or criminal activities directed at schools, students or scho...


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