- Sponsorship -

Never too early to learn ways to stay safe

When do you tell? Who would you tell?  

Speaker Susan Jacwiec, representing the State Attorney General’s office, presents safe concepts to third grade students

Since 2013, the Michigan government has been providing free programming to help children answer these questions through the OK2SAY program.

The program aimed at ending silence and giving young people a safe place to report incidents that make them feel threatened is for the first time being brought to Kent City Elementary students.

“It is critical that we begin to have meaningful conversations about mean behavior, bullying and online safety with even our youngest students,” said Elementary Assistant Principal Will Lepech. “From an early age, children can begin to identify these behaviors and develop a plan of action if they are a victim or witness them happening to others.”

Rules for figuring out when and who to tell were outlined and displayed with videos. But while the rules — such as identifying a stranger — may seem easy to follow on the streets, it can be more difficult online, said presenter Susan Jazwiec from the State Attorney General’s office.

Students are asked to count the number of times the speaker uses word ‘safe’

The students learned that any response — even a simple “hi” — can be dangerous when playing a game online.

While these youngest students may not have yet experienced online threats or bullying, it is essential for them to recognize what bullying is and how to report it, according to Lepech.

“The OK2SAY initiative is one part of this ongoing conversation that we are having with our elementary students,” he said. “The goal is to provide students the information and tools they need to confidently stomp out mean behavior and stand up for each other.”


SNN story identifies program specifics

- Sponsorship -
Janice Holst
Janice Holst
Janice Holst has been both a teacher and a journalist. A former MLive reporter, she wrote features and covered local government and schools for Advance Newspapers for nearly two decades. She also was a recipe columnist and wrote features for Mature Life Style and occasional entertainment pieces for On The Town magazines. She lives in Sparta Township and is thrilled to spend some of her retirement hours writing the stories of the northern Kent County school districts. Read Janice's full bio or email Janice.


District welcomes new administrators, ready to ‘lead through uncharted waters’

New administrators share their thoughts on starting their posts during a pandemic...

Teacher and coach applies lessons in classroom and on field

New Kelloggsville head football coach Brandon Branch also teaches science and math at the high school and looks to bring academics and athletics together whenever he can...

Two high schools, newly renovated, await return of students

Two major renovation projects at Ottawa Hills and Union high schools are part of a 30-year, $175 million school improvement bond approved November 2015 with the majority, $155 million, earmarked for construction...

Avid reader, Petoskey-stone hunter, lover of great outdoors

Melanie Hoeksema is the new Ada Elementary principal. SNN gets to know her in this edition of Meet Your Principal...


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Related Articles

Breadstick boy, Ripcord rider and now athlete and administrator

The new Kent City High School and Middle School principal is Jordan Stuhan. He replaces Bill Crane, who moved to the position of assistant superintendent of business and administrative services...

No Big Splash This Year

Despite a return to in-person learning this fall, the Board of Education has decided the Kent City High School pool will remain closed indefinitely...

Ready or not, school year begins as leaders adopt plans to teach, protect students

With most of Kent County’s public school districts opening next week, superintendents talk about their plans to educate students while trying to keep them safe from an unpredictable virus...
- Sponsorship -


Engagement: The Most Important Measure of Student Success

Polls find that students’ engagement in their school work declines as they ascend the grades. Tests that don’t relate to their real-life experiences exacerbate the problem...


Food ‘angels’ support hungry kids through pandemic

They work all across Kent County, guardian angels with peanut butter on their hands and crumbs on their shirtsleeves...
- Sponsorship -


Maranda Where You LiveWGVU