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.”