Confidential reporting yields results

March 27, 2015

By Rosemary Horvath
Correspondent

The OK2SAY program rolled out statewide in September has proven to be effective, according to 33rd District State Senator Judy Emmons R-Sheridan.
Between Sept. 2, 2014 and Dec. 31, 2014, some 410 confidential tips were reported and potential criminal harm to students, school employees and schools averted.
Tips included 163 reports of bullying and cyberbullying, 13 child abuse, 34 drugs, 17 threats, and 54 suicide threats.

State lawmakers passed the Student Safety Act of 2013 that created OK2SAY in the aftermath of deadly acts of school violence. The program is modeled on successful programs in Missouri and Colorado and is the state’s student safety program.

The hundreds of tips verified by Michigan State Police “tells me there is a need and callers are utilizing the tool. Hopefully, we are making a difference but it only works if people know about it,” Emmons said at a recent meeting with constituents.

The 33rd Senate District includes Clare, Isabella, Mecosta, Gratiot and Montcalm counties.
The program is implemented by the Attorney General’s Office in collaboration with state departments of community health, education, technology, management and budget, human services and education, along with public and private groups.

Website is www.michigan.gov/ok2say.
Confidential tips may be submitted 24/7 by telephone, text, email, mobile app or on the website.
Emmons chairs the Senate Families, Seniors and Human Services Committee.
Cited for her involvement raising awareness of human trafficking, Emmons this week hosted the second Shine the Light on Human Trafficking Day at the State Capitol.
This was the second session of an ongoing effort to raise awareness of the crime and support victims. Cook County (IL) Circuit Court Judge Rosemary Grant Higgins talked about addressing trafficking from the bench.

Last year, Emmons led the passage of a bipartisan, comprehensive effort to protect Michigan women, men and children from human trafficking.
She said the focus now is on awareness and making sure Michigan is doing all it can to support survivors and help law enforcement.
Women of the Senate, a bipartisan group, will host Human Trafficking Legislative Day at the Capitol on May 2.

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