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Whitmer Celebrates OK2SAY Program that Helps Keep Schools Safe
August 11, 2022
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 11, 2022
Gov. Whitmer Celebrates OK2SAY Program that Helps Keep Schools Safe
Annual report shows Michigan State Police logged over 6,200 tips from OK2SAY in 2021
LANSING, Mich. -- Today, Governor Gretchen Whitmer reviewed the annual report from OK2SAY, a school safety program run by the Michigan State Police (MSP) that empowers Michigan students, teachers, and staff to help protect school safety by confidentially reporting threats, violent behavior, or mental health crises. In 2021, OK2SAY logged over 6,200 tips, a 67% increase compared to 2020.
“Every kid deserves to feel safe at school, and I am proud of the successful OK2SAY program that offers students a confidential way to report threats and talk about their mental health,” said Governor Whitmer. “I am so grateful to the MSP for ensuring this program runs smoothly. I will work with anyone to keep our kids safe at school, and I am proud of the historic, bipartisan efforts we have made in our students and schools to help them thrive both in and out of the classroom. Let’s keep working together to help kids be kids.”
“OK2SAY is a violence prevention tool in place in Michigan for more than eight years and remains steadfast in its mission to help keep students safe,” said Col. Joe Gasper, director of the Michigan State Police. “The program provides a much-needed safety net responding to and preventing numerous individual and community crises.”
OK2SAY Annual Report
The 2021 Annual Report shows that OK2SAY received 6,255 tips spanning 30 categories, with the top three types of tips being:
- Planned School Attack - 1,786
- Threats (e.g., an expression intended to cause pain or injury to a specific individual rather than a school building) - 722
- Other (e.g., anxiety, stress, depression, harassment) - 632
Other findings include 34 tips which involved the confiscation of weapons and 86 tips that resulted in the seizure of drugs or alcohol.
OK2SAY is available 24/7 and tips can be submitted the following ways:
- Call: 8-555-OK2SAY (855-565-2729)
- Text: 652729 (OK2SAY)
- Email: OK2SAY@mi.gov
- OK2SAY website: www.michigan.gov/ok2say
- OK2SAY mobile app: Available for download in app stores for iPhone and Android.
Anyone can report tips on criminal activities or potential harm directed at students, school employees or schools. Tips can be submitted 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Michigan law requires every public and nonpublic school to provide the MSP with at least one school official’s emergency contact information biannually. This information allows OK2SAY to efficiently communicate with school personnel when a tip is received. The form for schools to update their contact information can be found here.
OK2SAY is housed within the Office of School Safety.
Student Safety Investments
In July, Governor Whitmer signed a bipartisan education budget that will make the highest state per-student investment in Michigan history to improve every kid’s in-class experience, invest $250 million in school infrastructure, fund $10,000 scholarships for 2,500 future teachers every year, and send schools dedicated per-student funding to bolster school safety and expand on-campus mental health resources.
The dedicated $210 million school safety dollars allocates $25 million for schools to hire more on-campus school resource officers. The school safety dollars will also create an intervention system for at-risk students that brings together law enforcement, schools, and mental health professionals, and establish a school safety commission.
In June, Governor Whitmer signed legislation that fully funds risk assessments and critical incidence mapping at every school in the state to help protect students and create safety plans in the event of an emergency. The legislation will deliver necessary resources to Oxford Community Schools and every district across the state to support students, improve public safety and provide effective law enforcement solutions.
Office of School Safety
The Office of School Safety is committed to delivering quality services to schools that promote safe and secure learning environments to reduce threats, build trust and improve the quality of life for K-12 students in Michigan. Created under the authority of Public Act 435 of 2018, the Office of School Safety, which is housed within the Grants and Community Services Division of the Michigan State Police, works in partnership with the Michigan Department of Education to do the following:
- Assist in the development of model practices for school safety and engage with local law enforcement agencies to assess school buildings for which emergency operations plans are being developed.
- Seek and apply for federal funds relating to school safety and reducing violence and disruptions in schools.
- Provide staff support to the School Safety Commission, which is responsible for making recommendations to the Office of School Safety.
The Office of School Safety has resources available to schools and school districts throughout Michigan, including an emergency operations template, a facility assessment tool, and mental health resources.