OK2SAY, the program designed to give students and concerned citizens a place to report bullying and violence, had an unprecedented year in 2017. The annual report, which was released by Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette in late June, showed that the tip line received 4,605 verified tips last year – a number that’s up 72% from the previous year’s report. And 2018 is already looking to surpass it!
By providing a safe and confidential way for threats to be shared with an adult who can help, OK2SAY was designed to stop harmful and hurtful behaviors before they happen. Launched in 2014 by the Attorney General’s Office, and overseen by the state, OK2SAY is making strides at overcoming the “culture of silence” that has kept young people fearful of reporting dangerous behaviors for so long. Since its inception, the program has logged more than 10,000 tips, and saved a great many lives.
“If one child is saved, the program is a success!”
As Schuette says about the initiative, if one child alone is saved by the program, then it can be considered a success. And it has definitely been successful. According to the Michigan State Police, a huge number and variety of issues are reported to the helpline, which allows them to be dealt with before they develop into much larger problems. This includes:
- Suicide threats
- Drug sales on school property
- Threats of violence among school children
- Abuse at home (child abuse)
- Sexual assault
- Cyber bullying
Who answers the phone at the OK2SAY tipline?
The phones are manned by trained OK2SAY technicians who filter the information to local law enforcement agencies, school officials, community mental health service programs, or the Michigan Department of health and Human Services, depending on what the problem is.
The identity of the reporter is kept in strict confidence. Tipster identities can only be released with the explicit permission of the tipster, or the tipster’s parents (if he/she is a minor), or through a court order. Even the Michigan Freedom of Information Act cannot be used to identity a tipster.
To report threats of violence or self harm to someone who could help:
Tips can be reported to a 24 hour hotline so that threats can be safely addressed, and hopefully dealt with properly. A tip can be submitted over the phone, via text, email, or online through the website.
Phone: 8-555-OK2SAY (855-565-2729)
Text: 652729 (OK2SAY)