Michigan OK2SAY Student Tip Line Saw 67% Increase Last Year
Of the 6,255 tips received, 1,786 were related to planned school attacks. The year prior, only 52 such threats were reported.
Michigan’s OK2Say hotline for school safety tips received a record-setting 6,255 tips last year — a 67% jump from 2020.
“Within days of the Oxford tragedy, school threats emerged throughout Michigan, requiring schools and law enforcement to work around the clock to address each incident,” reads the report released Friday. More than 150 threats were made nationwide in the week after the shooting.
In addition to the shooting, researchers say the jump is also likely because many schools were offering remote or hybrid learning in 2020 due to the pandemic, and the program was introduced to middle school students in 2021.
Of the tips received, 28.6% (1,786) were related to planned school attacks, dozens of which forced schools to temporarily close. The previous school year, only 52 such threats were reported. The report also found that 34 tips resulted in the confiscation of weapons.
Other leading tip categories included:
- Threats against specific individuals: 722
- Anxiety, depression, stress, and harassment: 632
- Bullying: 533
- Suicide threats: 500
- Drugs: 413
- Guns: 351
- Cyberbullying: 347
- Sexual assault/misconduct/exploitation: 283
- Self-harm: 178
Michigan State Police (MSP) Sergeant Carlos Fossati, team lead for the OK2SAY program, which operates under the MSP Office of School Safety, said most tips came in by text message, according to Chalkbeat Detroit.
Fossati encourages students to call in any concerns, even if they aren’t sure the information they have is credible. Each tip is “a finite piece of the puzzle,” he said, “but somebody we’re going to share that information with might have a larger picture and is just missing that little bit of information.” He said OK2SAY technicians protect the identity of tipsters and don’t share that information with responding officers or school personnel.
More than half of all public middle schools and high schools in the U.S. have access to tiplines, according to the U.S. Department of Justice. The most successful programs, including Michigan’s, have trained staff who answer calls 24/7 and coordinate responses with law enforcement and school personnel.
OK2SAY, which was established and 2013 and is modeled after Colorado’s Safe2Tell program, costs $1.1 million annually. Students with a tip can confidentially contact OK2SAY online, through an app, or by texting OK2SAY or calling 8-555-OK2SAY (855-565-2729).