Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette recently announced that the OK2SAY student safety program has received 10,734 tips since the program was started in September 2014. In 2017 alone, the program received 4,605 tips– up 37% from 2016. For the first time suicide threats topped the tip list.
Tips were received across 30 categories including the following:
- 1,205 tips on suicide threats;
- 961 tips on bullying;
- 456 tips in the other category, related to anxiety, stress, depression, harassment
- 390 tips on self-harm
- 311 tips on drugs; and
- 287 tips on cyberbullying.
“This program can be categorized as nothing else but a success, and it is a success because Michigan students are using it,” said Schuette. “OK2SAY has given students who previously did not know where to turn a confidential place to get help. I want to thank our presenters and the OK2SAY technicians at the Michigan State Police who make students feel safe and comfortable when providing tips. They are another piece of the puzzle that makes this program such a success.”
OK2SAY is a student safety program that acts as an early warning system in Michigan schools to prevent tragedies before they occur. Launched in 2014, the program encourages students to submit confidential tips to trained technicians regarding potential harm or threats 24/7.
Through the 4,605 tips received in 2017, OK2SAY has saved lives. Submitted tips have prevented school violence, thwarted suicide attempts and provided help to many Michigan students in need of mental health or social services.
OK2SAY is effective in combatting the culture of silence that permeates Michigan schools. After every tip a report is filled out and acted upon. In the 2016 reports, 67% of schools, law enforcement and mental health professionals who received the tip from OK2SAY line said they were previously unaware of the problem. OK2SAY has proven to be immensely successful in saving lives and preventing tragedies.
THE KEY FEATURES OF OK2SAY
- Confidential Reporting: State law protects the confidentiality of the reporter’s identity. The identity of the reporting party will not be disclosed to local law enforcement, school officials, or the person about whom a tip is offered, unless the reporter voluntarily chooses to disclose his or her identity. If the reporter is a minor, the parent or guardian must also consent.
- Comprehensive Technology: Anyone can confidentially submit tips 24/7 using any of the five tip methods detailed below. Multi-media attachments like photos, videos, and links to additional information are encouraged.
- Coordinated Intervention: Upon receipt of a tip, specially trained OK2SAY technicians at the Michigan State Police screen and forward tips to an appropriate responding agency including: local law enforcement, schools, local community mental health organizations, or the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.
- Accountability: Each responding organization is asked to complete an Outcome Report detailing the nature of the tip, how the tip was handled, and whether the tip situation was resolved or requires ongoing attention. This provides local entities an opportunity to illustrate that student safety threats are tracked and taken seriously. The 2016 Annual Report details the types and numbers of tips handled throughout the year.
HOW TO SUBMIT AN OK2SAY TIP
OK2SAY encourages confidential tips on criminal activities or potential harm directed at students, school employees, and schools. Tips can be submitted through the following ways:
Call: 8-555-OK2SAY, 855-565-2729
Text: 652729 (OK2SAY)
OK2SAY Mobile App: Available for download in app stores for iPhone and Android.