OK 2 Say: A new bullying prevention tool for students, families and schools

Hopefully, we can replace the frantic 911 call in the midst of tragedy with an OK 2 Say call that may help prevent a tragedy.

Gov. Rick Snyder has drawn attention to the need for students, adults, schools and communities to be involved in the prevention of bullying. The OK 2 Say bill passed on Dec. 17, 2013 establishes a call line where students can text, email or call any time of the day and any day of the week to report bullying, rumors or threats of violence. The goal is to get the system up and running early next year, Snyder said.

This new resource is one of several steps bystanders can take in supporting targets of bullying. Many experts advocate providing young people (and adults) with a menu of strategies they can use when they witness bullying situations. Some of these involve strategies they can use in the moment – that is, when the bullying is taking place – and some are those they can use to provide support after these behaviors occur. Michigan State University Extension as part of the Be SAFE: Safe, Affirming and Fair Environments advocates tapping the wisdom of youth about what they say that works in bullying situations. Preliminary results from the Youth Voice Research Project: Victimization and strategies identified:

Most helpful behaviors of adults:

  • Listened to me
  • Checked in afterward to see if the behavior stopped
  • Gave me advice

Most helpful behaviors of youth:

  • Spent time with me at school
  • Talked to me at school to encourage me
  • Helped me get away from the situation
  • Gave advice about what I should do
  • Called me at home to encourage me
  • Helped me tell an adult
  • Made a distraction
  • Told an adult

Sandra York, Executive Director of the Michigan Parent Teacher Association was quoted in the Detroit Free Press as saying, “Hopefully, we can replace the frantic 911 call in the midst of tragedy with an OK 2 Say call that might prevent that tragedy.”

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