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OK-2-SAY hotline intended to make schools safer
December 13, 2013
Friday, Dec. 13, 2013
LANSING, Mich. – Students will have a 24-hour, 365-days-per-year confidential tip line to help prevent school tragedies after Gov. Rick Snyder signed a law creating the OK-2-SAY hotline.
“The OK-2-SAY hotline will give students the confidence to do the right thing without the fear of intimidation or retribution,” Snyder said. “We want a bright future for our kids and this program will help stop violent acts before they turn into tragedies.”
Senate Bill 374, sponsored by state Sen. Judy Emmons, creates the “Michigan Student Safety Act.” The Department of Attorney General in consultation with the Michigan State Police, the Michigan Department of Education, and the Michigan Department of Community Health will cooperate to establish the program.
“The OK-2-SAY student safety program will help students break the culture of silence by providing them with a confidential resource to stop tragedy and violence before it occurs,” said Attorney General Bill Schuette. “We cannot sit and wait for the next Columbine or Sandy Hook. I would like to thank Gov. Snyder for his support for this important initiative to keep schools safe.”
The program includes a hotline that will:
- Accept tips by phone, text message, email, website and multimedia device;
- Operate 24-hours-a-day, every day of the year; and
- Protect the confidentiality of the reporter’s identity.
The program is modeled after a similar one in Colorado that was created after the Columbine High School shootings.
“Having an easy way for students to report trouble is important,” said Vickie Markavitch, Oakland Schools superintendent. “I’m especially pleased that the legislation addresses referrals for proper intervention and mental health services.”
SB 374 is now Public Act 183 of 2013.
A formal press conference is planned to discuss the OK-2-SAY legislation on Tuesday, Dec. 17.
The governor also signed two other bills today.
SBs 442 and 443, sponsored by state Sen. Jim Marleau, amends existing law to provide new criteria with respect to lawsuit-related judgments against school districts. They are now PAs 184 and 185.