May 17, 2017
LANSING – Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette today released the OK2SAY student safety program’s 2016 Annual Report and began a new statewide public service announcement campaign in movie theaters across Michigan.
OK2SAY is the most effective prevention-based reporting mechanism tool, logging in more than 7,844 tips from Michigan students since September 2014.
“Since its creation in 2013, I’ve believed that saving even one student’s life makes this program a success,” said Schuette. “OK2SAY has not only saved lives, it’s stopped violence and ensured that Michigan students have a safe place to learn and grow. But our work is not done. There are more students who need our help. It’s time to remove the sunset so this vital program can continue beyond the 2017 Fiscal Year.”
“Michigan’s children should feel safe wherever they are – home, school, on the internet,” said Col. Kriste Kibbey Etue, director of the Michigan State Police. “We remain committed to reaching as many students as possible and assuring them that we take this seriously. Nothing is too small or insignificant to report.”
To date, OK2SAY student safety educational seminars have been presented to nearly 2 million Michigan students at public, private, and charter schools. At the close of 2016, OK2SAY programming has reached more than 80% of Michigan’s 83 counties.
OK2SAY received 3,359 tips in 2016 - an increase of more than 54% compared to the previous calendar year. Tips were received in 30 categories including:
The year 2016 was filled with milestones for OK2SAY. In July, the department was awarded a Conference of Western Attorneys General (CWAG) “WAGGY” award for Best Mobile App for the OK2SAY app. Later that fall, OK2SAY logged its 5,000th tip, exceeding expectations and establishing itself as Michigan’s most effective prevention-based reporting mechanism.
The Department of Attorney General worked with a group of five local animators, visual designers, and sound artists, led by a professor, to create an animated 30-second public service announcement. The team was a mix of both current students and recent graduates from Kendall College in Grand Rapids.
“By having students work on this project, students are helping reach other students about OK2SAY,” said Schuette. “I hope this new campaign will expand our scope outside the classroom, empowering all Michigan kids with the tools they need to be heroes in the hallway.”
“The project was a lot of fun to work on. We wanted to tie into the coming super hero season by giving it an action-packed flare,” said Brad Yarhouse, professor at Kendall College of Art and Design. “Everybody had a great time not only working on the design, but having the opportunity to make a difference and to help K-12 students. It wasn’t just a job- it had meaning to it.”
Over 60 movie theaters across the state will feature the public service announcement. The Department aims to reach students during some of the spring’s big block busters.
Professor Brad Yarhouse (far right) with his team of student collaborators (left to right: Joshua Workman, James Driessche, Melanie Dionne, Erica Syverson; not pictured: Lee Albrecht) who produced the newest OK2SAY public service announcement, now running in movie theaters across Michigan.
OK2SAY is a student safety program that acts as an early warning system in Michigan schools to prevent tragedies before they occur. Launched in 2014, the program encourages students to submit confidential tips to trained technicians regarding potential harm or threats 24/7.
Through the 3,359 tips received in 2016, OK2SAY has saved lives. Submitted tips have prevented school violence, thwarted suicide attempts and provided help to many Michigan students in need of mental health or social services.
OK2SAY is effective in combatting the culture of silence that permeates Michigan schools. In reports filled out after a tip is received and acted upon, 67% of schools, law enforcement and mental health professionals who received the tip from OK2SAY said they were previously unaware of the problem. OK2SAY has proven to be immensely successful in saving lives and preventing tragedies.
OK2SAY encourages confidential tips on criminal activities or potential harm directed at students, school employees, and schools. Tips can be submitted through the following ways:
Call: 8-555-OK2SAY, 855-565-2729
Text: 652729 (OK2SAY)
OK2SAY Email: (email@example.com)
OK2SAY website: (ok2say.com)