AG: School tips into hotline top record in Feb.
A state student safety program fielded a record number of tips in February, including more than 100 related to school threats, Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette’s office announced Wednesday.
OK2SAY, which launched in 2014 as a warning system for schools statewide, received 670 reports last month, topping the previous record 560 set in October, Schuette’s office said in a statement.
“I worked to create OK2SAY so students have a way to report something wrong at school without fearing that others will retaliate. The OK2SAY app is where students are, on their phones and tablets,” Schuette said.
“As Department of Attorney General OK2SAY team members present in more and more schools, tip numbers and mobile app users are increasing. We’ve heightened awareness about OK2SAY, and students are engaged now more than ever in a school safety program that works and has saved lives.”
Suicide threats were the most reported tip, at 127, but the effort also had 119 related to planned school attack tips, according to the release.
That accounted for 18 percent of all tips submitted in February and represented “a substantial increase” in the category, state officials said. There were 146 in all of 2017.
The spike came in the wake of the Parkland, Florida, high school shooting in which 17 people died and 16 were wounded.
Suspect Nikolas Cruz was formally charged Wednesday with 17 counts of first-degree murder, which could mean a death sentence if he’s convicted.
Since the slayings, authorities across Metro Detroit have responded to a string of threats — including one this week in which a Sterling Heights teen made a terrorist threat against Henry Ford II High School.
School threats represent a portion of the 11,899 total tips OK2SAY has received since its inception, Schuette’s office said Wednesday.
Students can confidentially relay reports to the state by calling (855) 565-2729; texting 652729; emailing email@example.com; going to ok2say.com; or using the OK2SAY Mobile app.
Trained technicians at Michigan State Police screen and forward details to local law enforcement, schools and local community mental health organizations or the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.
Last month, more than 9,000 students and 745 residents heard an OK2SAY presentation, the attorney general said.
“I appreciate the continued support of the Michigan Legislature and the inclusion of OK2SAY funds in the Department of Attorney General budget for this coming year,” he said. “OK2SAY is vital to school safety in Michigan, and every dollar dedicated to this initiative keeps Michigan kids safe.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.