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Schools in Michigan ini­tiate safety plans. Pexels | Courtesy

 

In the middle of a nationwide debate over vio­lence in schools, last week Hillsdale County Sheriff Tim Parker threw his support behind The Michigan School Safety Reform Plan, a pro­posal designed to prevent vio­lence in Michigan schools.

“Addi­tional steps can be taken to help keep our schools safe,” Parker said in a press release. “Our school systems are the feeder system to our future society. Ensuring that stu­dents can learn and be safe should be a pri­ority.”

The plan — which a com­mittee of Michigan law enforcement agents and edu­cation groups in Holt, Michigan, designed — calls for a $100 million grant program for security per­sonnel and a $20 million grant program for school safety infra­structure.

The plan also calls for grants so that more sheriff and police  depart­ments can work in school buildings and on school grounds and so that schools can hire more mental health pro­fes­sionals to identify problems in stu­dents at an early stage. Addi­tionally, it asks that law­makers improve the safety of school buildings and that schools enact mea­sures to ensure mandatory reporting of threats to help prevent vio­lence.

Parker’s support for the pro­posal comes on the heels of a gun threat that forced Pittsford High/Middle School into a hard lockdown on March 14. School offi­cials found a gun in a 13-year-old student’s bag and called the Hillsdale County Sheriff’s Office to handle the sit­u­ation.

No one was injured, and the student was handed over into the county court system’s custody.

The Pittsford gun threat was just one of the 41 threats of vio­lence in Michigan public schools since the Feb. 14 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, cap­tured national public attention.

Parker said in a press release that the national concern is at its heart a local issue and the state needs to be ready to handle it accord­ingly

“Here in Hillsdale County we have had our own round of threats, vio­lence and weapons brought into our schools,” he said. “These pro­posals by law enforcement, schools, and coun­seling orga­ni­za­tions have a great potential to stem the tide of vio­lence. It is my hope that the State of Michigan can come up with the needed funding to implement these pro­grams.”