1,400 tips received in first year; most related to bullying, cyber bullying and suicide
Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette joined Detroit Public Schools Assistant General Counsel Marquita Harris Sylvia, Detroit Cass Technical High School Principal Lisa Phillips, representatives from Michigan State Police and students at Detroit Cass Tech High School to promote the success of Michigan’s OK2SAY student safety program.
“One year into the OK2SAY program and we are already making significant strides in schools across our state,” said Schuette. “We have already saved lives and stopped violence, OK2SAY is making a difference for kids in Michigan.”
“We are thrilled to stand with Attorney General Schuette today to help students understand how important it is to put a stop to bullying and violence in our schools,” said Cass Technical High School Principal Lisa Phillips. “The greatest contribution of the OK2SAY program will be its ability to empower our youth, who normally would not feel comfortable speaking out, to do so without retribution.”
OK2SAY: Breaking the Culture of Silence Among Students
OK2SAY is a student safety initiative available to Michigan students in grades K-12 and enables students to confidentially report potential harm or criminal activities aimed at students, teachers, staff or other school employees. During the 2014-15 school year, the first year of OK2SAY, more than 1,400 tips were submitted by students across the State of Michigan. Most tips were related to bullying, cyber bullying and suicide, other tips included reporting drug use, weapon possession or assault. Schuette, Detroit Schools, MSP Promote Success of OK2SAY Student Safety Program September 22, 2015 OK2SAY is operated through a partnership between the Department of Attorney General, Michigan State Police, state agencies, schools, parents, law enforcement, and community leaders.
OK2SAY discourages the persistent culture of silence among students who fear reporting threatening behavior is intrusive and could lead to retaliation or result in stigmatization for the tipster. According to the U.S. Secret Service, for 81% of violent incidents in U.S. schools, someone other than the attacker had knowledge of the attacker’s plan but failed to report it.
Key features of OK2SAY include:
- 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 against whom a tip is offered, unless the reporter voluntarily chooses to disclose his or her identity. However, to address any false reports to the program, prosecutors do have authority to seek a court order to review records when investigating false reports.
- Comprehensive Technology: OK2SAY is operational 24 hours a day, seven days a week, every day of the year. The program accepts tips by phone, text message, email, mobile application, and website form, accessible at www.mi.gov/ok2say. Photos, videos and links to additional information are encouraged.
- Coordinated Intervention: Upon receipt of a tip, specially trained OK2SAY operators at the Michigan State Police address the immediate need and, as necessary, forward the information to the appropriate responding law enforcement agency or organization. Tips go to schools, local law enforcement agencies, community mental health agencies or the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.
- Accountability & Complete Disposition: To ensure tips are acted upon, agencies receiving tips are required to submit outcome reports to the Department of Attorney General. An annual report on the program’s impact will detail the types and numbers of tips handled throughout the year. The 2014 report is available on the Attorney General’s website.
How to Submit a Tip
Students, teachers, parents, school officials, friends and neighbors can all submit tips, if they are aware of a threat in school.
Tips can be submitted through the following ways:
- Call: 8-555-OK2SAY (855-565-2729)
- Text: 652729 (OK2SAY)
- Email: OK2SAY@mi.gov