Michigan bullying hotline announced for 2014

A new Michigan bullying hotline to anonymously report negligent behavior was recently announced, scheduled to launch in 2014.

Bullying continues to be a concern for many students in Michigan, with some reluctant to attend school for fear of being bullied. A relatively new form of bullying, called cyberbullying, affects victims through today’s technology, often anonymously.

Educators, students, parents and others have made strides in adapting to the issues, teaching the victims and bystanders to respond to lessen the impact of the bully. Many schools are implementing awareness and prevention programs and are seeing results.

On Dec. 17, 2013 Gov. Snyder announced a new hotline for reporting potential school safety threats anonymously will be become available in 2014. Snyder signed the bills creating the “OK-2-Say” safety hotline. Attorney General Bill Schuette and the Michigan State Police will be responsible for operating the hotline. Students, teachers and parents can anonymously report potential safety threats using various forms of communication, such as text or email information about.

After the Colorado Columbine school shooting, Colorado implemented a similar system. Administrators at Cadillac Public Schools brought the hotline topic to the legislature.

Michigan State Police will refer reports made through the hotline to local law enforcement agencies for further investigation from schools and other personnel. A specific launch date has not been determined, but the hotline is expected for 2014.

If you’re interested in learning more about what Michigan State University Extension is doing to help in the fight against bullying, Be SAFE is a bullying prevention and education program designed for adolescents ages 11to 14 and the adults who work with them, such as parents and caregivers. The program has a primary focus on working with youth and adults involved in out-of-school settings such as afterschool programs, 4-H clubs, Boys and Girls Clubs, Scouts and faith-based groups.

Be SAFE includes a core curriculum of engaging learning activities focused on fostering environments that are physically and emotionally safe. The curriculum explores 10 focus areas, in addition to support material that provides the options for more intensive learning in each of the areas. Information on Be SAFE can be found through the MSU Extension bookstore.

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