We are close to the halfway point in the school year and like any good coach, OMS administrators and staff are giving kids a pep talk for the second half, sharing some halftime adjustments that include important reminders. Safety is one of those important topics and Friday, all middle school students tuned into a special Zoom presentation with OK2Say, the Michigan tip line for any safety concern.
“We need to work together to keep each other safe,” said presenter Christine Coady at the start, “Your role is to speak up.” She noted that many times students know about it before the adults, and until the adults know, they can’t help.
The students learned that they can text, email, or call the tip line if they know of, or believe that something isn’t right and safety is a concern. There’s even an app to download. They stressed that OK2Say is not a replacement for talking to an adult, “It’s always best to talk to an adult, but OK2Say is there if you feel you can’t,” she said.
The presentation also answered a great question: “what if you’re not sure it’s a real concern?” Adults will always want you to err on the side of caution, it’s always best to speak up. But there’s also an innate wisdom each of them has. “You’ve got to trust your gut, your inner voice that tells you when something isn’t quite right,” she explained.
With OK2Say, all tips are always confidential. OK2Say follows up on all tips and the more information given at the time of the tip submission, the quicker they can contact the right person to address the concern. “The goal is simple, to knock down the barriers before a situation becomes a tragedy,” she said.
Along with details on how OK2Say works, Coady talked about how powerful each student is with their actions and words. She shared a video at how hurtful mean words can be and how powerful positive words can lift someone up.
Coady said that OK2Say has saved thousands thanks to students who speak up. “You have a chance to change a life, be a hero.” OK2Say is something used across the district.
This presentation is just a part of the overall effort from OMS at the start of the new year. Earlier in the week, Assistant Principal, Mr. Trumley zoomed into all of the classes to remind them of some common expectations for students like behavior in the hallway, cell phone rules, lunchtime expectations and more. He used the January Capturing Kids’ Heart word of the month “Responsibility” to remind students to be responsible on social media and kind to each other.
Next week, students will hear from the Michigan State Police Internet Crimes Against Children unit on the dangers of the digital age and what to look out for on video games, social media, apps, etc.