OK-2-Say Tipline Coming Next Year, Aims to Prevent Future School Tragedies

By: Josh Sidorowicz Email
By: Josh Sidorowicz Email

"This is really to provide an outlet for people to have a confidential way to communicate on what they believe could be a threat,"

-- Gov. Rick Snyder

Gov. Rick Snyder signed the OK-2-Say bill into law Tuesday afternoon.

It sets up a 24/7 hotline for anyone, including students, parents, and teachers, to help stop a tragedy before it happens.

The signing of the bill comes just days after the Sandy Hook anniversary and after another school shooting at a Colorado High School.

"This is really to provide an outlet for people to have a confidential way to communicate on what they believe could be a threat," said Gov. Snyder during a press conference Tuesday.

The hotline will enable tips to be submitted anonymously via call, email or even text message.

It's a move aimed at, not only improving the safety of students, but starting a new dialogue, according to Michigan's Attorney General Bill Schuette.

"This is the beginning of the end of that old language of 'don't be a narc, don't be a snitch," Schuette said. "It's okay to tip and provide information where you could save a life."

Schuette and Gov. Snyder were joined alongside law enforcement and lawmakers Tuesday to tout the new $4.5 million program which will be set up by the attorney general's office.

It has not be determined who will handle the calls or when the tip-line will be up and running but Gov. Snyder said the aim is sometime in 2014.

The program is modeled after a system currently in place in Colorado which was created after the deadly Columbine High School shootings in 1999.

Schuette said the program has seen success in Colorado, receiving "hundreds upon hundreds" of tips annually.

Sen. Judy Emmons, R-Sheridan, who sponsored the bill said Tuesday's announcement was only made more timely following the school shooting at Colorado's Arapahoe High School last week.

"It works, and you can see from this last week the timing of that situation was much more condensed, much quicker than the prior incidents," Emmons said.

"Hopefully students will feel secure enough, confident enough that they will be able to call or text and their cover won't be blown, they can do it anonymously and yet they're saving and helping someone."

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