In this age of rampant cyber bullying, escalating abuse, and increased violence among young people, Michigan officials were faced with the challenge of finding a way to keep the children and young people of our state safer. Launched in September of 2014, OK2SAY is a program designed to stop harmful and hurtful behaviors before they happen, by providing a safe and confidential way for threats to be shared with an adult who can help.
Attorney General Bill Schuette recently thanked the Michigan Senate Education Committee who voted to continue funding OK2SAY, and encouraged a full Senate vote. In addressing the media about the vote, Schuette announced that “There is no denying the success of the OK2SAY program. Michigan students now have a trusted way to confidentially report information like the threat of violence, or suicidal thoughts without the fear of judgment or retaliation.”
“I want to thank Senator Judy Emmons and the Senate Education Committee for recognizing the importance of OK2SAY. Today’s vote brings us closer to ensuring OK2SAY continues for Michigan students and I encourage a full Senate vote on this legislation.”
The program, which is funded by the state and overseen by the Attorney General’s office, was designed to empower students and other concerned citizens to report tips pertaining to possible school violence, student suicide attempts, and abuse against minors. In our “culture of silence” where ‘tattling’ is discouraged and even stigmatized, this allows threats to be properly responded to without singling out the person who spoke up.
With each passing year, OK2SAY receives more and more tips about bullying, suicide, abuse and violence. In 2016, the program received a total of 3,359 tips, which is up nearly 55% from the previous year. Tips that are received are categorized in order to help program coordinators see where the biggest areas of concern are for Michigan youth. Last year tips were received in 29 of 30 tip categories, including:
- 800 tips on bullying
- 569 tips on suicide threats
- 307 tips on self-harm
- 279 tips on cyberbullying
- 480 tips in the “other” category (e.g. anxiety, stress, depression, harassment)
Tips can be reported to a 24 hour hotline that brings together law enforcement, mental health professionals, and even school personnel 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)