Teen looking at his phone with concern

Building Healthy Communities Promoting Safer Schools with OK2SAY  

When children and teens witness bullying or classmates engaging in unsafe behavior, it can be hard to know where to turn for help.   

In Michigan, children, teachers, parents and community members have a confidential way to report tips on potential harm or criminal activities directed at students, school employees and schools. OK2SAY is a nationally recognized safety program operated through a partnership between the Department of the Attorney General, Michigan State Police, state agencies, schools, parents, law enforcement and community leaders. Since it began in 2014, more than 26,000 tips have been reported.   

OK2SAY resources and messaging will now be shared as part of the Building Healthy Communities program, which provides students teachers and administrators with the training, curriculum, equipment, funds, communication tools and external coaches needed to create a healthy school environment that supports a culture of wellness.   

In 2019, the OK2SAY program fielded almost 6,000 tips, and school administrators say it allows students a chance to report troubling activity when they don’t feel comfortable telling an adult in person. “This is … a great resource for students to use when they feel uncomfortable speaking to someone directly,” explained Heritage Junior High School assistant principal Kenneth Voakes, in the program’s annual report.  

OK2SAY tips have helped thousands of students and saved many lives. There are 31 tip categories to choose from when submitting a confidential tip. Most tips were related to bullying, cyberbullying, self-harm, anxiety, stress and depression and suicide. Other tips reported drug/alcohol use, weapon possession, or assault.   

OK2SAY is available statewide for K-12 public and private schools in Michigan; anybody can submit a confidential tip 24/7 using the OK2SAY app, online at OK2SAY.com, by texting 652729, emailing [email protected] or by calling 8-555-OK2SAY. Specially trained technicians receive the tips and filter the information to the right agency to provide a timely and effective response.    

Learn more about OK2SAY at OK2SAY.com. Applications are still being accepted for the Building Healthy Communities: Step Up for School Wellness program through Friday, Oct. 30, 2020. More information and application information can be found here.  

Building Healthy Communities is supported by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, Michigan Health Endowment Fund, Michigan Department of Education, Michigan Elementary and Middle School Principals Association, Michigan Fitness Foundation, Michigan State University Extension, United Dairy Industry of Michigan, University of Michigan and Wayne State University Center for Health and Community Impact.    

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Photo credit: FG Trade

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