August 21, 2017
LANSING – With the start of a new school year quickly approaching Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette is reminding students, parents, and teachers to continue using OK2SAY. The student safety program has been a great success — even in the summer months. In June and July, OK2SAY technicians received almost 400 tips.
“OK2SAY works because students across the state are stepping up and speaking out. It is as simple as that,” said Schuette. “Even when school is out for the summer, kids know they can turn to OK2SAY. We are helping to knock down barriers so a student who is struggling can get needed help before a situation turns into a tragedy. OK2SAY helps ensure students have a safe and confidential tool at their fingertips.”
“Children need to know they have the power to protect themselves and their peers.” said Col. Kriste Kibbey Etue, Director of the Michigan State Police. “We will continue to work to educate as many students as we can and remind them that we are here to help them. Nothing is too insignificant to report.”
OK2SAY and the Michigan Cyber Safety Initiative presentations are led by experienced, dedicated presenters who travel to schools throughout the state to give free customized presentations for children in kindergarten through 12th grade. To date, nearly two million students have attended a presentation.
Students in Kindergarten through 5th grade receive age-appropriate instruction from the Michigan Cyber Safety Initiative (CSI), a national award-winning program, and feeder program for OK2SAY.
Students in 6th through 12th grade receive dynamic, award-winning OK2SAY student safety programs. The department also provides programming for parents, guardians, and community leaders.
OK2SAY/CSI presentations are scheduled in 154 schools in 23 counties for the 2017-2018 school year. But it’s not too late: there is room for more presentations. If your school is interested in hosting an OK2SAY/CSI presentation, sign up today on the OK2SAY website.
Designating a few specific individuals with whom OK2SAY technicians can follow up with regarding tip information is crucial: OK2SAY points of contact help save time, and even lives. That’s why Attorney General Schuette and Michigan State Police Colonel Kristy Kibbey Etue are urging Michigan principals to fill out or update the online OK2SAY School Contact Form.
In the majority of violent incidents that occur in our schools, someone other than the perpetrator of violence knows of a threat before it’s carried out but fails to report it. Often, students chose to keep quiet because they fear retaliation, rejection, or stigmatization by their peers. The result is a culture of silence in which students suffer harm that could have been prevented if another had felt comfortable to speak out. OK2SAY empowers students to break the code of silence.
The total number of tips since OK2SAY launched in September 2014 has reached almost 9,000. Tips are submitted across 30 categories, with most tips reporting bullying, suicide threats, “other” (e.g., anxiety, depression, harassment, and stress), self-harm, and drugs.
“We are encouraged by this summer’s continued success and are looking forward to continuing that momentum through the 2017-2018 school year,” said Schuette.
Students, teachers, parents, school officials, friends, and neighbors can submit tips if they are aware of a threat in school. Tips can be submitted though any of the following ways:
Call: 8-555-OK2SAY (855-565-2729)
Text: 652729 (OK2SAY)