Schuette Joins Detroit, Saginaw Schools to Promote OK2SAY Student Safety Program
Attorney General Bill Schuette announced new statistics at Saginaw Arts and Sciences Academy and Detroit Cass Tech High School to highlight a successful first year of Michigan's statewide student safety initiative, OK2SAY. For 2014-15, more than 1,400 tips were submitted by students across the State of Michigan relating to bullying, cyber bullying and suicide, other tips included reporting drug use, weapon possession or assault.
OK2SAY is a confidential multimedia tipline designed to empower Michigan students, parents, school personnel, community mental health service programs, and law enforcement to share and respond to student safety threats.
Schedule a [FREE] presentation for your school and learn more about OK2SAY ➝ http://1.usa.gov/1PnSvuM
- North Rockford Middle School Students, Schuette Tackle Bullying, Violence in Schools with OK2SAY School Safety Event
- October 2, 2015
ROCKFORD – Students at North Rockford Middle School and Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette today joined with Rockford Superintendent Dr. Michael Shibler and Michigan State Police Inspector Matt Bolger to talk about the importance of preventing bullying and violence in school, with help from the OK2SAY student safety initiative
“In the first year of OK2SAY, we have already made a significant impact,” said Schuette. “We have saved lives, stopped violence and helped improve school days for all kids across Michigan. OK2SAY is one more tool in a school’s safety box. We will continue our commitment to building a culture of responsibility and safety for students across the state”
“We are dedicated to making sure bullying and violence doesn’t happen in the Rockford Public Schools and the most important step is educating our students,” said RPS Superintendent Dr. Michael Shibler. “The OK2SAY assemblies will be offered to all students K-12 in our 13 schools and will prepare them to help their classmates and themselves make our schools a happier, healthier, safer place.”
OK2SAY: Breaking the Culture of Silence Among Students
OK2SAY is a student safety initiative available to Michigan students in grades K-12 and enables students to confidentially report potential harm or criminal activities aimed at students, teachers, staff or other school employees. During the 2014-15 school year, the first year of OK2SAY, more than 1,400 tips were submitted by students across the State of Michigan. Most tips were related to bullying, cyber bullying and suicide, other tips included reporting drug use, weapon possession or assault.
OK2SAY is operated through a partnership between the Department of Attorney General, Michigan State Police, state agencies, schools, parents, law enforcement, and community leaders.
OK2SAY discourages the persistent culture of silence among students who fear reporting threatening behavior is intrusive and could lead to retaliation or result in stigmatization for the tipster. According to the U.S. Secret Service, for 81% of violent incidents in U.S. schools, someone other than the attacker had knowledge of the attacker’s plan but failed to report it.
Key features of OK2SAY include:
- Confidential Reporting: State law protects the confidentiality of the reporter’s identity. The identity of the reporting party will not be disclosed to local law enforcement, school officials, or the person against whom a tip is offered, unless the reporter voluntarily chooses to disclose his or her identity. However, to address any false reports to the program, prosecutors do have authority to seek a court order to review records when investigating false reports.
- Comprehensive Technology: OK2SAY is operational 24 hours a day, seven days a week, every day of the year. The program accepts tips by phone, text message, email, mobile application, and website form, accessible at mi.gov/ok2say. Photos, videos and links to additional information are encouraged.
- Coordinated Intervention: Upon receipt of a tip, specially trained OK2SAY operators at the Michigan State Police address the immediate need and, as necessary, forward the information to the appropriate responding law enforcement agency or organization. Tips go to schools, local law enforcement agencies, community mental health agencies or the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.
- Accountability & Complete Disposition: To ensure tips are acted upon, agencies receiving tips are required to submit outcome reports to the Department of Attorney General. An annual report on the program’s impact will detail the types and numbers of tips handled throughout the year. The 2014 report is available on the Attorney General’s website.
How to Submit a Tip
Students, teachers, parents, school officials, friends and neighbors can all submit tips, if they are aware of a threat in school. Tips can be submitted though the following ways:
Call: 8-555-OK2SAY (855-565-2729)
Text: 652729 (OK2SAY) *
- Schuette Statement on Appointment of Joan Larsen to Michigan Supreme Court
- September 30, 2015
LANSING – Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette today issued the following statement on Gov. Snyder’s appointment of Joan Larsen to the Michigan Supreme Court:
“I am delighted with the appointment of Joan Larsen as the new Justice of the Michigan Supreme Court. She will be a strong voice for rule of law for the State of Michigan."
Joan Larsen was appointed to fill a vacancy on the Court left by the retirement of Justice Mary Beth Kelly.
- Schuette Convicts Southfield Doctor of Sex Offenses, Drug Delivery, Fraud
- September 30, 2015
LANSING – Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette today announced that John Ronald Verbovsky, 67, of Southfield, was sentenced by Ingham County Circuit Judge William Collette to five to 20 years in prison for prescribing controlled substances without any legitimate medical need in exchange for sex or cash.
“The predatory conduct exhibited in this case is particularly reprehensible considering the offender here had taken a professional oath to care for the sick,” said Schuette. “He has harmed patients and damaged families, his behavior is inexcusable and Verbovsky will never practice medicine again.”
Verbovsky, a doctor of osteopathic medicine, has also had his medical license permanently revoked in the first use of patient protection laws championed by Schuette since they became law in March of 2015. The “patient harm” license revocation laws applied to Verbovsky are based on infamous metro-Detroit oncologist Farid Fata’s patient abuse and allows for the permanent revocation of a medical license in certain “patient harm” circumstances.
John Ronald Verbovsky pleaded guilty to:
- 2 counts of Criminal Sexual Conduct, 3rd degree;
- Racketeering; and,
- 2 counts of Medicaid Fraud.
Verbovsky practiced as a Doctor of osteopathic medicine at his clinic, Progressive Family Medicine, in Sterling Heights, Michigan, and at Stout Family Medicine in Detroit. Charges against Verbovsky stem from an Attorney General investigation into allegations that Verbovsky was prescribing controlled substances for uses other than medical treatment, but instead allegedly using his prescriptive authority as a physician to coerce sexual favors and money from patients. The Attorney General investigation also revealed that the Medicaid program was allegedly billed and paid for prescriptions that were written by Verbovsky without medical necessity. Earlier this year, based upon the allegations in this case, Department of Attorney General sought and obtained a permanent license revocation as requested by their client, the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs. Verbovsky surrendered himself to the court on February 3, 2015.
DEPARTMENT OF ATTORNEY GENERAL HEALTH CARE FRAUD DIVISION
Schuette's Health Care Fraud Division exists to identify, prosecute and prevent fraudulent activity by doctors, dentists, pharmacists and other health care providers participating in the Medicaid program. Taxpayer dollars provide health care to indigent patients and other recipients. It is vital that these dollars be effectively spent to help those in need. Fraud affects everyone including the recipients of care, the taxpayers who pay for it and the overwhelming majority of providers who conscientiously provide quality care.
- Schuette Names Amy Clickner to Western Marquette County Health Foundation Board
- September 30, 2015
LANSING – Attorney General Bill Schuette today announced the appointment of Lake Superior Community Partnership CEO Amy Clickner as his designee to the Western Marquette County Health Foundation Board.
“I have sincere confidence in Amy’s leadership skills and her ability to serve as a strong representative of her community,” said Schuette. “As CEO of the Lake Superior Community Partnership, she has helped grow the economic base of Marquette County and I look forward to seeing her continue this positive work on the Western Marquette County Health Foundation Board.”
Clickner joined the Lake Superior Community Partnership, a private-public partnership serving as the region’s leading economic development organization, in 1998. Clickner has received several accolades for her efforts in economic development and within the community: Evergreen Award (formerly Athena), Michigan Economic Development Corporation Partner of the Year, R.A.R.E Everyday Hero and MEDA Medalist of the Year in 2014. In 2013, she was appointed by Governor Rick Snyder to serve on the Iron Industry Museum Board in Negaunee, Michigan.
Clickner’s appointment stems from the Attorney General’s approval of the 2013 approval of the sale of Bell Memorial Hospital to LifePoint Hospitals. The sale resulted in roughly $5 million in sales proceeds going to the Bell Foundation, which reorganized as the Western Marquette County Health Foundation. As a condition for the Attorney General’s approval, the Attorney General required the Foundation to agree to protect the sales proceeds for appropriate charitable purposes; as a further protection for the charitable assets, the agreement also gave the Attorney General the authority to appoint a board member to the Foundation.
Clickner resides in Negaunee with her husband and two daughters, Jocelyn and Courtney.
- Schuette, State Attorneys General Urge Congress to Address Heroin, Opioid Addiction and Abuse
- September 29, 2015
LANSING – Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette today joined attorneys general from 37 states and the District of Columbia to urge the Committees on the Judiciary for the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives to pass legislation designed to help states more effectively confront the growing challenge of heroin and opioid abuse and addiction.
“We cannot have a complete and full economic recovery in Michigan unless we confront the escalating epidemic of drug abuse and addiction,” said Schuette. “Combating this growing crisis begins with a foundation of education, dedication of resources and collaboration among policymakers, law enforcement, medical providers and citizens in communities across our state. Taking comprehensive action together, we can reverse the public health and public safety threat of heroin and prescription drug abuse to break the cycle of addiction.”
Michigan Prescription Drug and Opioid Abuse Task Force
In June 2015, Governor Snyder created the Michigan Prescription Drug and Opioid Abuse Task Force to address the growing prescription drug and opioid problem statewide. Schuette chairs the Task Force subcommittee on Regulation, Enforcement, and Policy. The bipartisan task force will examine the recent trends, evaluate strategic options, and develop a statewide action plan. The Fiscal Year 2016 budget includes $1.5 million to address statewide concerns on this issue.
Heroin and Opioid Addiction, Abuse: A National Epidemic
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, drug overdoses now surpass automobile accidents as the leading cause of injury-related death for Americans between the ages of 25 and 64. More than 100 Americans die as a result of overdose every day with more than half of those deaths resulting from prescription drugs or heroin overdoses.
In their letter to Congress, the attorneys general write,
“Law enforcement has always been on the frontline when it comes to drug crises, but we cannot arrest ourselves out of this current epidemic. Research shows the best way to address this challenge is though a strategy that includes prevention, law enforcement, reduction of overdose deaths, evidence-based treatment, and support for those in, or seeking, recovery.”
The Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act of 2015 will:
· Improve prevention and educational efforts – particularly aimed at teens, parents and other caretakers, and aging populations – to prevent the abuse of opioids and heroin and to promote treatment and recovery;
· Increase the availability of naloxone to law enforcement agencies and other first responders to help in the reversal of overdoses to save lives;
· Expand resources to identify and treat incarcerated individuals suffering from addiction disorders promptly by collaborating with criminal justice stakeholders and by providing evidence-based treatment;
· Increase the number of disposal sites for unwanted prescription medications to keep them out of the hands of children and adolescents;
· Launch and evidence-based opioids and heroin treatment and intervention program to assist in treatment and recovery throughout the country; and,
· Strengthen prescription drug monitoring programs to help states monitor and track prescription drug diversion and to help at-risk individuals access services.