Emmons introduces bill to continue OK2SAY program

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Sen. Judy Emmons

Sen. Judy Emmons

LANSING, Mich. — Sen. Judy Emmons on Wednesday introduced legislation to continue Michigan’s OK2SAY hotline, a 24-hour confidential tip line designed to help prevent school tragedies.

“The OK2SAY program has been a tremendous success in helping protect students and save lives by eliminating fears that silence students from reporting threats in our schools,” said Emmons, R-Sheridan. “OK2SAY received more than 3,300 tips last year and received nearly 700 tips in the first two months of 2017. This program has delivered positive results for our kids, and my legislation will ensure that it continues to be there for years to come.”

In 2013, Emmons sponsored the legislation that created the state program modeled on a Colorado initiative launched after the Columbine High School tragedy.

Emmons’ new legislation, Senate Bill 267, would continue the program by repealing the law’s current Oct. 1 expiration date.

Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette thanked Emmons for her legislation.

“I greatly appreciate Senator Emmons and the bill she introduced today; she is taking a big step to help Michigan students feel safe in the classroom and the hallways,” Schuette said. “Across Michigan, students are submitting tips to OK2SAY by texting, calling or using the OK2SAY app to report when they feel unsafe, or when they see a friend or classmate being bullied or in trouble. With continued funding, Michigan kids will continue to have a place to turn for help.”

Emmons said, “According to the U.S. Secret Service, in more than eight of every 10 incidents of school violence, someone other than the attacker knew about the plan but didn’t report it. Every Michigan student and parent needs to know that it is ‘OK-2-SAY’ something if you hear of any threats. Tips are anonymous and 100 percent confidential.”

Students can report tips by calling 1-855-OK-2-SAY (65-2-729), texting a message to 652729, emailing ok2say@mi.gov or filling out a form at www.mi.gov/ok2say. An app is also available in the app stores for iPhone and Android devices.

In 2016, OK2SAY received 3,359 tips in 29 of 30 categories, including 800 tips on bullying; 569 tips on suicide threats; 480 tips in the other category (covering a multitude of tips from depression to discrimination); 307 tips on self-harm; and 279 tips on cyberbullying.