- 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 is a reporter covering Kent City and Sparta. She 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 enjoys spending some of her retirement hours writing the stories of the northern Kent County school districts. Read Janice's full bio or email Janice.


Fourth-grade hockey fan gets a magical hour on ice: ‘I made the shot!’

Raised as a Red Wings and Grand Rapids Griffins hockey fan, Jackson Solow lights up while skating on an ice rink wearing his favorite hockey jersey...

‘This time it is continued learning’

One school’s switch from in-person to virtual education last week was nearly seamless, especially when compared with the forced school closure in March...

Foundation grants $28,285 in fall funding requests

Virtual phys ed and art experiences, materials to improve classroom focus and books on social issues aimed at middle-schoolers are among the grants approved this fall...

Latest school closings expand on state-ordered high school mandate

More Kent County districts continue to announce temporary school building closures, as schools contend with a sharp increase in COVID-19 cases in Kent County and Michigan...


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Related Articles

At-home learners stay connected through a new resource

In late October, Kent City Elementary opened a designated room to give families who have chosen virtual education extra resources and support...

Mapping the road to learning

Elementary teachers Billie Freeland and Nicole Andreas are at the forefront of using a curriculum designed to further educational goals, regardless of whether students are in person or online...

Homecoming, modified

The coronavirus pandemic has forced school districts to make changes to the ways they celebrate some annual traditions...
- 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