New student safety hotline aims to stop school violence before it happens

May 22, 2013

State officials say students need new and better ways to report threats of school violence. Officials plan to create a new anonymous tip-line that would include a mobile app for tech-savvy teens.

The program would let students send in tips by phone, text message, email, or the mobile app - which accepts photos and videos.

They call “OK-2-SAY”.

Michigan State Police Director Kriste Etue says it’s crucial to remove as many barriers as possible for teens with possibly life-saving information.

“They’re all socially connected to their device, so we have to appeal to the young people today,” said Etue.

Lieutenant Governor Brian Calley says it would offer students a safe and confidential way to report suspicious behavior.

“Students know what’s happening in their schools,” said Calley. “They need to have a safe venue where they can report, nobody knows that they reported, so that we can potentially save harm, violence, and even lives of kids.”

Alongside the new tip-line, state lawmakers plan to introduce legislation meant to make sure the tips are kept confidential.

Lt. Gov. Calley says getting students to offer that kind of information can be a challenge.

"We know from studies that 81 percent of violence that occurs, somebody other than the perpetrator knew about it ahead of time."

“We know from studies that 81 percent of violence that occurs, somebody other than the perpetrator knew about it ahead of time,” he said. “This is a venue so that there can be intervention between when somebody finds out and when the violence occurs.”

Officials say the state would pay for the new service with a pool of money from court settlements paid to the state.

Lawmakers say they to make sure the system does not stick school districts with added costs.