Recently, a new student service has been implemented among Michigan public schools called Ok 2 Say. It is an anonymous online tip line where students can report possible safety threats.
This service came about due to school shootings such as Sandy Hook and Columbine. Pioneer High School health teacher, Mrs. Baublis explained, “administrators have been searching for a legitimate avenue for students to report suspicious behavior that doesn’t feel like snitching.”
Pioneer has an established service called Pioneer Needs 2 Know which is similar to Ok 2 Say. School counselor, Mrs. Creal said, “a lot more kids use it than you’d think.The Pioneer one is better to go to for Pioneer kids.” She explained that it’s nice to see the state trying to create a more comprehensive program for all Michigan public schools.
The fundamental concept behind these services is to encourage kids to speak up and report suspicious behavior. “There’s a lot of kids that want to say stuff, but they want to do it anonymously for fear of being judged by their peers” said Creal. In the past few years she has “come in contact with more kids that are depressed or anxious than in previous years, and this service is needed now more than ever.”
Pioneer has also made other changes to the security system in conjunction with these tip lines in order to make the school a safer place. The school has implemented a new lockdown system that aims at getting students out of the building if possible. In regards to this new system, “there needs to be more communication to the students” said Brant, “it’s weird that they set up a website so students can be involved, but when there’s a lockdown they won’t tell us anything.”
In general, students and staff feel safe at Pioneer. “I feel very safe coming to Pioneer everyday,” said Creal, “These new security measures and tip lines will help keep us safe.”
Brant said that even though she does feel safe at Pioneer, “the threat of violence in schools now is just something that’s part of the everyday school experience. It’s important to be conscious of it, but we can’t get rid of it.”
“We’ve proven in Ann Arbor that kids do tell” said Baublis, “I’m hoping that the days of keeping [security threats] silent are gone, but we have to keep providing positive role models and keep working on other strategies. We shouldn’t be satisfied with this and be done.”