Frequently Asked Questions
1. What is OK2SAY?
OK2SAY is the student safety program which allows students to confidentially report tips on potential harm or criminal activities directed at school students, school employees, and schools. It uses a comprehensive communication system to facilitate tip sharing among students, parents, school personnel, community mental health service programs, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, and law enforcement officials about harmful behaviors that threaten to disrupt the learning environment.
2. How can I submit a tip?
Tips can be submitted 24-hours-a-day, 7-days-a-week by telephone, text message, email, mobile app, or via the OK2SAY website. Multimedia attachments and links to additional information are encouraged.
3. How does OK2SAY help prevent harmful student-related behavior?
At present, a “culture of silence” permeates the American educational landscape. In this culture, threats of retaliation and stigmatization often discourage students from reporting the dangerous behaviors of their peers. Based on research from the U.S. Secret Service, in 81% of violent incidents in U.S. schools, someone other than the attacker knew about of the attacker’s plan but failed to report it. OK2SAY aims to eliminate this culture of silence by providing a confidential, collaborative communication system where students and authorities can work together to respond to safety threats.
4. How does the confidentiality work? Who is informed when a tip is received? What information is shared? With whom?
OK2SAY is a confidential communication system in which the identity of the reporting party is statutorily protected. Initial tips will be fielded by OK2SAY technicians trained to filter the information to local law enforcement agencies, school officials, community mental health service programs, or the Michigan Department of health and Human Services for timely response. The identity of the reporting party is statutorily protected and can only be released with permission of the tipster, the tipster’s parents if he/she is a minor, or through a court order. This information is also specifically exempted from the Michigan Freedom of Information Act.
5. Who keeps records of the tips that are submitted? Will schools need to hire more staff?
The Michigan State Police keep tip records. Schools and community mental health service programs will not need to hire additional staff members to maintain these records. To promote program accountability, existing school personnel (likely the OK2SAY contact designee), local law enforcement, or community mental health service personnel will be asked to submit outcome reports detailing how incidents are handled.
6. How is the validity of a tip established? Is there a filtering system in place to prevent program abuse?
OK2SAY is a resource that individuals must use responsibly. Practical jokes and prank tips will not be tolerated. The program will remind users that reporting a tip is a serious action that will result in a response from the appropriate authorities. OK2SAY technicians use their professional expertise to assess the validity of reports and determine whether further action is appropriate.
7. What happens to the tip if the individual reporting is threatening to hurt him/herself?
OK2SAY technicians address the immediate need, and as necessary, forward the call to the appropriate responding agency. The technicians are specifically trained to recognize mental illness and emotional disturbances, and manage crisis situations. All psychiatric emergencies are additionally referred to the appropriate Community Mental Health Services psychiatric crisis line. Law enforcement may be called to conduct a welfare check.
8. What is the appropriate action when a tip is received?
Because the content and circumstances of each tip will vary, the appropriate follow-up action will likewise vary. However, in each case, the emphasis is not the arrest of the person against whom a tip is offered. Rather, the goal of the program is to prevent harm and get students the support they need.
9. How does a school implement OK2SAY?
OK2SAY is free. The program is available to all Michigan schools. The program is most effective if it's in conjunction with the free presentations and advertised with the OK2SAY promotional materials. The School Implementation Guide explains how a school can take advantage of all aspects of OK2SAY.
10. What are OK2SAY's hours of operation?
Tips can be submitted to OK2SAY 24-hours-a-day, 7-days- a-week.
11. Is the OK2SAY program working?
Yes, OK2SAY has been very successful because once the appropriate responding parties have received the tip information, they take action to eliminate the threat. Cases of peer mistreatment have been reduced, weapons have been removed from schools, and students who were threatening suicide received the support they need.
12. What about parents? To what extent are they involved in responding to potential threats?
While the identity of the person submitting the tip will remain confidential, parents can be notified of the existence of a potential threat if the situation demands that they be contacted.
13. How will OK2SAY be promoted?
The Attorney General’s office has developed a presentation to teach middle and high school students about OK2SAY. It will be presented in conjunction with the national award winning Michigan Cyber Safety Initiative which has reached more than 1.4 million students since its 2007 creation. To learn more and also register for a presentation, go to “Schedule a Presentation.”