Throughout the school year, Paramount Charter Academy is partnering with OKAY2SAY, a student safety program that encourages students to report information regarding safety or threatening situations. The partnership included a recent day of assemblies that was broken down by grade-level.
“OKAY2SAY is a nationally recognized program designed to enhance school safety by giving students the tools to step up and speak out when they are concerned about their safety or the safety of another,” said Christine Welc, principal at Paramount Charter Academy. “Paramount is focused on better educating our students, staff, and parents about school, online, and home safety through OKAY2SAY.”
OKAY2SAY, a program through Michigan’s office of the attorney general, focuses on early intervention and prevention through awareness and education. A key theme that was presented during the assemblies focused on online safety and cyberbullying.
“There are situations that students can be put in, and when we do our part to educate them about possible situations that are unsafe, the more confident they will feel if they were ever bullied, or confronted by strangers, in person or online. We are very grateful for the support from this program,” said Welc.
The Young 5s through first-grade students enjoyed a presentation about the “3 Keeps,” where students learned the following rules:
- Keep safe by carefully guarding their personal information online.
- Keep away from internet strangers.
- Keep telling parents or a trusted adult about anything that makes them uncomfortable.
The program focused on short, child-friendly videos to reinforce those key messages, and provided students the opportunity to learn how to recognize bullying behaviors and respond accordingly. During the second- through third-grade assembly, students dove deeper into the topic while learning rules for being safe online. The videos from that assembly highlighted the importance of students seeking the help of a trusted adult when faced with challenging situations.
Fourth- through fifth-grade students built on the lessons from the second- through third-grade assembly, illustrating the importance of limiting how much personal information is shared online. Students learned to recognize common techniques used by internet predators and effective responses to bullying and cyberbullying. The students were also introduced to the OKAY2SAY student safety program and encouraged to talk to a trusted adult before contacting OKAY2SAY.
Scholars in sixth- through seventh-grade were encouraged to examine their own behaviors and make smart and thoughtful decisions regarding the dangers of revealing personal information online while also exploring the consequences of sexting. Students also learned the steps to take if they witness or are the target of peer abuse.
The OKAY2SAY partnership will continue throughout the year at Paramount, building on what students are learning and encouraging students to speak out against negative behavior.