Schuette visits school to promote OK2SAY

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Last Thursday, Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette (far left) promoted the OK2SAY student safety program at Fordson High School in Dearborn.


Last Thursday, Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette joined Dearborn Mayor Jack O’Reilly, Dearborn Police Chief Ron Haddad, Michigan State Police F/Lt. Mike Shaw, and Fordson High School students to launch the OK2SAY student safety program at the school.

“As we enter the fourth school year with the OK2SAY program, one thing is clear. This is working,” said Schuette at Fordson High School in Dearborn. “This program works and it works because students have embraced it and are empowered to speak out. I am excited to help introduce this safety tool to the students at Fordson along with our excellent OK2SAY presenters.”

OK2SAY 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 twenty-four hours per day.

In just a few years, OK2SAY has become Michigan’s most efficient prevention-based reporting mechanism.  Tips for calendar year 2016 increased more than 54% compared to 2015.  And since it was launched, OK2SAY has logged more than 9,100 tips. The most-reported tip categories are bullying, suicide threats, other (e.g., anxiety, stress, depression, harassment), self-harm, cyberbullying, and drugs.

OK2SAY is operated through a partnership between the Department of Attorney General, Michigan State Police, state agencies, schools, parents, law enforcement, and community leaders.

A U.S. Secret Service study reported that in 81% of violent school incidents, someone other than the attacker knew about the plan but didn’t report it. OK2SAY discourages the persistent culture of silence among students who fear being labeled a snitch. It gives a voice to students who might otherwise remain silent out of fear of retaliation or rejection.

Key features of OK2SAY include:

• Confidential Reporting: State law protects the confidentiality of the reporter’s identity.  The identity of the reporting party will not be disclosed to local law enforcement, school officials, or the person about whom a tip is offered, unless the reporter voluntarily chooses to disclose his or her identity.  If the reporter is a minor, the parent or guardian must also consent.

• Comprehensive Technology: Anyone can confidentially submit tips 24/7 using any of the five tip methods detailed below. Multi-media attachments like photos, videos, and links to additional information are encouraged.

• Coordinated Intervention: Upon receipt of a tip, specially trained OK2SAY technicians at the Michigan State Police screen and forward tips to an appropriate responding agency including: local law enforcement, schools, local community mental health organizations, or the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.

• Accountability: Each responding organization is asked to complete an Outcome Report detailing the nature of the tip, how the tip was handled, and whether the tip situation was resolved or requires ongoing attention. This provides local entities an opportunity to illustrate that student safety threats are tracked and taken seriously. The 2016 Annual Report details the types and numbers of tips handled throughout the year.

In 2017, after committee hearings featuring a thorough legislative review and testimony from the Attorney General’s department, the state legislature gave the program its stamp of approval by extending OK2SAY funding through 2021.

The Attorney General’s staff have presented more than 3,400 OK2SAY presentations to 400,000 Michigan students in 72 counties, with the goal to reach every county in the state.  In addition, the Michigan Cyber Safety Initiative (CSI) program, a feeder program to OK2SAY, has been presented over 17,000 to nearly 1,500,000 students.

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: (ok2say@mi.gov).
• OK2SAY website: (www.ok2say.com).
• OK2SAY Mobile App: Available for download in app stores for iPhone and Android.

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