GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — As kids head back to school next week, safety continues to be a main concern, particularly after a year marred by shootings in Oxford, Uvalde and several others. While the debate rages on, the best approach to prevent violence in our schools—the OK2SAY program in Michigan—is seeing success.
The numbers tell the story.
In 2021, OK2SAY received 6,255 tips over 30 categories. That's up 67% from just the year before.
1,786 of those were regarding a planned school attack. 722 were regarding threats to individuals. 632 were in connection with anxiety, stress, depression or harassment.
"I think what the numbers reflect is that this is a program that students feel comfortable using and they are utilizing to help protect their friends peers and classmates," explained OK2SAY Program Specialist Mary Drew.
So how does it work?
OK2SAY is available 24/7 and tips can be submitted the following ways:
The Michigan State Police (MSP) then contacts the school and/or local law enforcement to address the issue.
"When educators are made aware, they are doing a great job of getting students the help they need before a situation turns tragic," said Drew.
She has this advice for students: "If their intent is to help somebody, please submit the tip, that's really what we want them to do, trust that gut, kids know what is going on in their school. If we get the information and we can intervene in the small things then they don't turn into tragedies. We take it seriously, so kids have made a life-saving difference in their friends and peers safety when they speak out."
►Make it easy to keep up to date with more stories like this. Download the 13 ON YOUR SIDE app now.