Michigan student safety tip line sees 19% increase in submissions last year compared to 2021
A Michigan student safety tip line program received 7,415 submissions last year, according to an annual report released this week.
The program offers a place to report school-related threats, violent behavior and mental health crises.
Okay2Say was launched in 2014 as a confidential tip line, primarily for use by K-12 students, though anyone can submit to the service.
Norman Nicholas supervises the team receiving the tips. He says that in 2022 alone, his team fielded the highest number of submissions since the program's launch.
One of them involved a tip related to plans for a potential school shooting.
“I am very confident that had we not received that tip that student might have actually followed through with their plan,” Nicholas said.
The Okay2Say program was modeled after a similar program started in Colorado shortly after the school shooting in Columbine.
Nicholas says a majority tips received in 2022 were related to instances of bullying and threats of suicide.
The program had a 19% increase in submissions in 2022 compared to the previous year. Nicholas says the number of tips tend to increase after an incident of school violence. Following the shooting at Oxford High School in November of 2021, the number of tips more than tripled the following month.
Mary Drew is the program’s administrator. She says the fact that the number of tips has continued to increase in the years since the program's launch in 2014 shows it's working.
“We know kids, once they are aware of the program, they are what we call: ‘Our Heroes in the Hallway,’” she said. “They're concerned. They're worried about a classmate. They're submitting a tip, and so, we're able to get the information to the right people so that we can intervene.”
During the school year, Drew helps promote the program at local schools by giving presentations to students.
“We know that [the presentations] work in terms of getting that message in front of kids, because as soon as we present to students and give them the information, they're utilizing the program almost immediately,” she said.
Tips can be submitted through the program’s website and phone app or via text.