Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette today introduced the OK2SAY school safety initiative [links.govdelivery.com] to middle school students at Crestwood Middle School in Kentwood. Schuette was joined by Kentwood Superintendent Michael Zoerhoff, Kentwood Police, and Michigan State Police.
OK2SAY is Michigan's student safety initiative that acts as an early warning system in Michigan schools to prevent tragedies before they occur. Launched in 2014 by Schuette, the initiative encourages students to submit confidential tips to trained technicians regarding potential harm or threats 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
“It’s a great day for OK2SAY. Crestwood Middle School students and staff are all excited to kickoff the school year with an OK2SAY presentation,” said Schuette. “This initiative has exceeded all expectations and I am pleased to be here today to share this life saving program with the students at Crestwood Middle School.”
Through the more than 4,605 tips received in 2017, OK2SAY has saved lives, prevented school violence, and provided help to many Michigan students in need of mental health or social services. In the 2017, OK2SAY technicians received 1,205 tips regarding threats of suicide; 961 tips regarding bullying; and 390 tips regarding self-harm.
“This program empowers students to stand up and say something if they hear something,” said Schuette. “Whether it is avoiding a potential shooting or helping a student who is planning to take their own life, the bottom line is OK2SAY saves lives. It is as simple as that and it is tangible proof it is working.”
"We are excited to have Attorney General Schuette come to Crestwood and help us launch the OK2SAY program,” said Superintendent of Kentwood Public Schools Michael Zoerhoff. “In Kentwood Public Schools, we believe strongly in positive relationships and open communication. This program will be another great tool to keep our students and staff safe."
The key features of OK2SAY include:
- In-school Programming: Thirty-one specialized OK2SAY presenters visit schools around the state to encourage students to step up, speak out, and report anything that threatens their safety or the safety of others.
- 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 2015 Annual Report details the types and numbers of tips handled throughout the year.
HOW TO SUBMIT A 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: 1-8-555-OK2SAY, 1-855-565-2729
Text: 652729 (OK2SAY)
Web: https://www.michigan.gov//ok2say [links.govdelivery.com]
OK2SAY Mobile App: Available for download in app stores for iPhone and Android.