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Student safety tip line receives most calls ever in 2017

Martin Cathrae

Michigan’s confidential student safety tip line received over one thousand more calls in 2017 compared to 2016.

OKAY 2 SAY, started in 2014, gives students a space to call in on everything from drugs and alcohol to sexting and assault.

Megan Hawthorne is a spokesperson for Attorney General Bill Schuette. She said she thinks the increase in calls is due to an increase in awareness.

“Students and parents are recognizing this as a program that can help and students are using it. I don’t think this represents more bullying or more suicidal thoughts in students.”

The biggest single issue to receive calls in 2017 was suicide. In 2016 it was bullying.

Hawthorne said the state works with parents, students, and law enforcement to get help to people who call in.

“Some of the suicide threats are ‘I heard my friend say something and I don’t know what to do.’ But some of the times students call and say ‘I feel like I’m going to hurt myself’ and it’s a more imminent situation.”

Hawthorne says overall the state received 4,605 calls in 2017, compared to just over 3,359 in 2016.