OK2SAY allows students to anonymously get help for peers who may harm themselves or someone else


Carly Craig, Circulation Manager

OK2SAY is a program founded by Attorney General Bill Schuette in order to minimize bullying, school shootings and other incidents where students need help. It’s an anonymous tip line in which anyone can call or text them, and they will either call someone at the school to help the situation or send the police in an urgent situation.

Deputy Press Secretary at the Michigan Attorney General’s office, Megan Hawthorne, talks about how students can use OK2SAY.

“Students can submit confidential tips 24/7 about anything that threatens their safety or the safety of others. Tips can be submitted via our mobile app, which is available for download at the both the Play Store and App Store,” Ms. Hawthorne said. “Tips can also be texted to 652729, emailed to [email protected], or students can call 855-565-2729. Finally, we have an online form students can fill out at our website at www.ok2say.com.”

Health teacher Mrs. Amy Oppat talks with her students about OK2SAY and what the program aims to achieve.

“My hope is that we can get people the proper help they need when they are in situations that could potentially be dangerous,” Mrs. Oppat said. “If we can make a difference and provide others with avenues to educate and protect them against violence or other harmful situations, then we are helping save lives.”

Freshman Ishi Shukla agrees with Mrs. Oppat that the program can be useful, if students actually use it. However, she doesn’t think that people use the resources provided for them.

I think the program can be effective. It just depends on how comfortable students are with sharing information and breaking that ‘mutual friend code,’” Shukla said. “I am a very lucky person to have a lot of trusted people in my life, but if the need ever arises to use OK2SAY, I would use it.”

Sophomore Jennifer Blakely agrees with Shukla about using the program if necessary, but thinks others might be hesitant.

“I think if people choose to use it, it could really help,” Blakley said. “If my friend or someone I knew seemed to have a problem and they didn’t already have help, I would use OK2SAY.”

Mrs. Oppat talks about what she knows about how the technicians working for OK2SAY respond to certain situations.

The trained professionals evaluate the tips and information that they receive.  If action is necessary, they contact the appropriate officials and forward the information.  The more detailed information they get, the better they are able to handle the circumstance.

Ms. Hawthorne talks about how the technicians take action from the tips they receive.

Our technicians are specially trained and receive additional training every year. We take action with every tip we receive. Each school has a point of contact,” Ms. Hawthorne said.  “If the tip involves imminent harm or danger, we will also notify local law enforcement.  Tips can also be shared with the local Community Mental Health Agency and/or the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services

Ms. Hawthorne comments on the importance of using the program, if ever put in a situation where someone needs help.

“OK2SAY is about early intervention and prevention. When students make the courageous decision to break the code of silence and speak out against harmful behavior, they equip authorities with the information needed to respond to threats and avert tragedy,” Ms. Hawthorne said.  “And that’s a good thing for Michigan schools, communities and families.”

Mrs. Oppat talks about the general response to OK2SAY with her students and how she thinks it has impacted them.

“The response from the students thus far appears to be a positive one,” Mrs. Oppat said. “Many students mentioned they liked the idea of being able to report things without having to be identified and they felt it was easier to report things when they did not have to do so in person.”

Ms. Hawthorne agrees with Mrs. Oppat, and thinks that the response to OK2SAY is what they hoped it would be.

The response we’ve received has been overwhelmingly positive. Educators, parents, law enforcement and students have encouraged us and helped make our program be even more effective. We encourage any and all feedback,” Ms. Hawthorne said. “Testimonials from some of our supporters are available on our website.”

Shukla, however, feels differently about the program.

“The general response to OK2SAY is that people don’t know and haven’t heard about the program,” Shukla said. “I believe in order for it to truly work, they need to raise more awareness for it so students know what it is regardless of whether or not they take health.”

Blakely agrees with Shukla, saying not many people are aware that the program exists.

“Not many people know about it just yet,” Blakely said. “I think it could possibly be improved by somehow sharing the information better and getting people informed on the app.”

Mrs. Oppat is a fan of the program, but also realizes that it is flawed and can be improved upon.

“A disadvantage is that students could be tempted to use this resource inappropriately,” Mrs. Oppat said. “The program stresses the importance of conducting one’s self in a professional manner and that there are serious repercussions for practical jokes or prank tips.”

Shukla also see areas in need of improvement in OK2SAY.

“Students may still not be comfortable about telling on one of their friends since they don’t know who is receiving and reading the text or email,” Shukla said.Ms. Hawthorne discusses the advantages of OK2SAY and why it’s vital for students to have the program as a resource.

“Some of the advantages of OK2SAY include the fact the tipsters’ identity is confidential. Students do not have to fear retaliation or rejection by their peers,” Ms. Hawthorne said. “OK2SAY gives students the opportunity to talk about issues that they may otherwise remain silent about including self-harm, drug abuse, gang violence or weapons to name a few. Sometimes students may not feel safe going to a trusted adult.  OK2SAY makes it easier for students to feel safe and do the right thing. It allows anyone to be a hero in the hallway.”

Mrs. Oppat encourages her students to use OK2SAY, even if it’s not considered cool.

“I absolutely encourage my students to use OK2SAY. I think it’s a great avenue for them to be able to report things that they feel could potentially cause harm to loved ones and peers,” Mrs. Oppat said. “I have hung up some signs and stickers in my room to make people aware of the opportunity to use it. It’s pretty simple, pretty quick and pretty easy, and it can really do some wonderful things for keeping people out of harm’s way.”