school violence

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Michigan students have a new way to report potential threats in state schools.

Starting this fall, students who believe they have information about potential criminal activities at schools can use the OK-2-Say hotline to call, text or email tips to law enforcement.

Genesee County Prosecutor David Leyton joined other officials at a Flint area school today to promote the statewide program.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Adults surveyed for a new poll rank childhood obesity as the top health concern for kids. 

More than two thousand adults were surveyed for the University of Michigan C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital National Poll on Children’s Health.

Director Matt Davis says obesity, smoking and drug abuse top the list of health concerns adults have about children.

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - Michigan is creating a confidential tip line for students designed to prevent school violence.

A law signed Friday by Gov. Rick Snyder authorizes the creation of a hotline accepting tips by phone, text message, email or through a website or mobile app. The state attorney general's office and other agencies will cooperate to establish the OK-2-SAY program being modeled after one Colorado created after the Columbine shootings.

Columbine High School

The Michigan House of Representatives is considering a new program to help prevent school violence.

The OK-2-SAY hotline would be available for students, teachers, parents or community members to call and report incidences of violence in schools.

Joanne Spry is the superintendent of Cadillac Area Public Schools. She implemented a similar program when she worked as an administrator in Colorado after the school shootings in Columbine. Spry says students are more likely to report something anonymously.

user BES Photos / Flickr

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.

Location of L'Anse Creuse High School.
Google Maps

Just in case you were thinking about it, you might want to reconsider walking into a school at 6 a.m. dressed in camouflage, a flak jacket, and a holster.

When a 21-year-old airman from the Selfridge Air National Guard appeared at L'Anse Creuse High School in Harrison Twp. this morning, he caused several schools to shutdown.

From the Port Huron Times Herald:

A federal task force looking into the effects of violence on children held its final meeting in Detroit Tuesday.

It was the last of four task force meetings held as part of US Attorney General Eric Holder’s Defending Childhood Initiative.

The task force heard from experts who said exposure to violence during childhood has lifelong consequences. And many of those children end up in the criminal justice system themselves.

Robert Listenbee, Chief of the Juvenile Unit of the Defender Association of Philadelphia. He says there are proven ways to help kids who end up in the system.

“We know that, in the juvenile justice system, diversion programs that take low-level offenders that are at low risk of re-offending out of the system early rather than mixing them with high-risk offenders…we know that those things work," Listenbee said. "But we’re not using them very well.”

Listenbee says violence is a “virus” that should be treated like a public health problem.

But many experts and members of the public testified about how pervasive violence has become the social norm in many communities—both rural and urban. And it’s leaving a generation of traumatized children in its wake.

That was the case for Lawnya Sherrod. She used to be a gang member in Detroit. Now she helps kids who want to transition out of that life.

“This is what I see every day, all day," said Sherrod. "I step out, I hear gunshots. It’s common. Hearing gunshots is like hearing the school bell ring.”

The task force will outline their findings and suggestions to combat the problem in a report later this year.

Detroit Public Schools, the city of Detroit, and several public safety agencies are launching what they call an “unprecedented, multi-agency” school safety initiative.

The initiative includes updated monitoring equipment; designated safe routes and patrols around three schools deemed “hot spots”; and monitoring social media sites for potential problems.