Skip to main content

Office of School Safety July 2023 Newsletter

> Join Our Newsletter Email List

ProtectMiChild Registry Keeps Kids Safe from Adult Ads Online

ProtectMIChild image Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson and Attorney General Dana Nessel are encouraging Michigan parents and schools to sign up for the state’s ProtectMiChild Registry in honor of National Child Abuse Prevention Month.  
ProtectMiChild is a free, secure program that keeps kids safe from adult-oriented advertising via social media, text, and email.  Parents can register their children’s social media handles, phone numbers, and email addresses to block ads for products like alcohol, tobacco, pornography, and online gaming.  Schools and organizations that work with children under 18 can also add their accounts.  More than 920,000 numbers and accounts have been added to the Michigan registry.
In 2021, the registry was updated to allow parents to add their child's Snapchat, Instagram, and Twitter accounts.  Ms. Benson and Ms. Nessel said they are working to add YouTube and TikTok to the service in the coming months.    

The Hidden Pandemic 

The rapidly increasing crime known as "sextortion" is a form of blackmail in which sexual information or images are used to extort sexual favors or money from the victim.  During the 2023 Great Lakes Homeland Security Conference in early May, the Michigan State Police (MSP) Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force presented on the online crime of sextortion – what it is and what educators need to know – and introduced a new documentary film, Sextortion: The Hidden Pandemic.  This documentary is recommended by ICAC for grades seven and up, as that is when most students are mature enough to understand the film's content.

With the growing concerns regarding sextortion and the exploitation of children, the MSP Office of School Safety encourages educators to take the opportunity to watch the film, request a screening for staff and students, and utilize resources available on the Sextortion Film website.  Please reach out to the Michigan ICAC Task Force for additional internet safety resources.  Sextortion tips can be reported through Michigan ICAC, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, and OK2SAY.

> Click below to see the trailer.
Sextortion trailer image  

Creating Inclusion, Encouraging Respectful Learning Spaces, and Supporting Safety and Understanding for LGBTQIA+ and All Students

Promoting safe and inclusive school environ The MSP Office of School Safety encourages creating and promoting school safety for all students in the state of Michigan, including LGBTQIA+ youth.  Schools can promote safe and inclusive environments by fostering a sense of respect and understanding through encouraging collaboration and open communication among students, teachers, staff, and parents.  Additionally, providing resources and introducing initiatives which support diversity and inclusion can help create a positive learning environment.  The Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN) provides resources and policy recommendations to support LGBTQIA+ students, encourage educators to foster a sense of belonging, and create safe and healthy learning environments where all students can thrive.  Visit GLSEN’s Guide for District and School Leaders.

Improving School Safety Through Bystander Reporting: A Toolkit for Strengthening K-12 Reporting Programs

The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency and the U.S. Secret Service National Threat Assessment Center released the K-12 Bystander Reporting Toolkit.  This resource helps support schools and school districts with strengthening their school safety reporting programs.  The toolkit provides simple strategies and guidance as well as self-assessment worksheets, checklists, and additional school safety resources.
k-12 reporting toolkit image
To help create awareness about OK2SAY – Michigan’s Student Safety Program, schools are encouraged to host a free student safety presentation.  The customized, age-appropriate programming is designed for elementary, middle, and high school students.  The presentations provide education and knowledge about the importance of submitting a tip, what to report, how to report, and what happens after a tip is submitted.

OK2SAY Emergency Contact

Public Act 401 of 2020 requires every Michigan public and nonpublic school to provide the MSP with at least one school official's emergency contact information twice each year.  This emergency after-hours contact information will allow OK2SAY technicians to efficiently communicate with school personnel about potential harm or criminal activities directed at school students, school employees, and schools.  The contact information is kept confidential and only accessed if there is an after-hours emergency involving imminent danger to the safety or well-being of a student.

If you have not done so already, please provide the emergency contact information for your school on the OK2SAY website under Register School Contacts.

Students in Saginaw are Making a Lifesaving Difference

ok2say student Mr. Mike Wiltse is an esteemed criminal justice instructor at Saginaw Career Complex, where he imparts his knowledge to high school juniors and seniors interested in community policing.  In an effort to challenge and motivate his students to make a difference in the community, Mr. Wiltse presented them with an opportunity to undertake a project that could aid in saving a life.  Three of his students – Kaitlyn, Cameron, and Noah – wholeheartedly accepted this challenge.  They wanted to focus on school safety by empowering their peers to take necessary action if they saw or heard something concerning.

The trio began their efforts by focusing on educating students and the greater Saginaw community about Michigan’s Student Safety Program, OK2SAY.  They developed engaging presentations, created a social media campaign, and formulated flyers and posters to spread awareness.  They presented before various community, government, and school organizations to inform and inspire others to get involved.  These tireless efforts culminated in the state finals for Skills USA, where the students showcased their project and emerged victorious.  Their work won them a chance to represent Michigan at the National Leadership Skills USA Conference in Atlanta, Georgia, held June 19-23, 2023.  

School Resource Officer Success Story

In July 2022, the Michigan legislature appropriated $25 million to fund school resource officer (SRO) positions in Michigan K-12 public schools.  In January 2023, the MSP Grants and Community Services Division announced the grant awards, funding nearly 200 new SRO positions in public schools across the state.
SRO love 2
SROs work to improve school safety and promote a positive school climate.  Often, this happens one student at a time.  One grantee recently shared a meaningful success story as summarized below.

During the 2022-23 school year, a Michigan school's grant-funded SRO heard a call on his police radio that there was an adult in the community who had assaulted another person and that shots had been fired.  At that time, the residence was surrounded by police and a standoff with the gunman had ensued.  As it was the end of the school day with students getting ready to leave for home, the SRO decided to check if any of the students in the school lived at that address.  He subsequently discovered that one student did.  The officer was able to remove that student from the school bus before it departed the school and waited with them until another family member arrived to take them to a safe place.

The MSP Office of School Safety is proud to report on the impactful work of SROs across the state.  Thank you to this officer for his quick thinking and to the school district for sharing this story.

Make 988 the Crisis Line Number on Student ID Cards

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services is requesting that all schools use the new 988 number on the back of school ID cards per Public Act 211 of 2020, which requires that a 24/7 suicide prevention hotline number be printed on the back of any student ID for those in grades 6 to 12.  As of July 16, 2022, 988 – the new three-digit number for the former National Suicide Prevention Lifeline – went live.  Michigan 988 centers received 6,228 calls in April 2023, which is about 1,000 more calls per month than received prior to the inception of 988.  Like 911 and other national 3-digit phone numbers, 988 was created to be easier to remember and make crisis care easier to access. 

If you have any questions or would like additional information, contact or visit the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline and Michigan Crisis & Access Line website

3rd Annual MSP Safety Day at the Michigan State Police Headquarters

Safety Day Image August 1, 2023 (rain date is August 2, 2023) 
The event will be held from 9 a.m. - 3 p.m., 7150 Harris Drive, Dimondale, Michigan 48821  
This event is free and open to the public. 
Click here for more information.

Safe Schools Week | October 15-21, 2023

important info image The MSP Office of School Safety encourages schools to participate in this annual observance and explore innovative approaches to engage school employees, students, parents, and community leaders in safe school practices.  In preparation for the 2023-2024 school year please visit the National School Safety Center website to begin planning.