A Michigan school safety initiative received more than 400 tips in its first semester of operation, according to an announcement today by Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette and Michigan State Police Director Colonel Kriste Kibbey Etue.
Called OK2SAY!, the program lets students use phone, text, web, and email to submit confidential reports of possible threats to students, teachers and other school staff.
The 410 verified tips include 163 for bullying and cyberbullying, 54 for suicide threats, and 13 for child abuse.
"I'm convinced we've saved a number of lives just in suicide and self-harm alone," said Matt Bolger, an inspector with the Michigan State Police.
Bolger said the initiative is successful in breaking the code of silence among students, and confidentially is an important factor. "Sometimes kids are concerned about being labeled a snitch or they don't know how to tell somebody or they don't know who to tell, " he said.
OK2SAY! operates around the clock every day of the year. Bolger said once a tip comes in to the OK2SAY operators at the Michigan State Police, they coordinate a response with appropriate agencies including schools, local law enforcement, mental health services.
Virginia Gordan, Michigan Radio Newsroom