O’Brien: Senate Acts To Improve School Safety

LANSING, Mich. — The Senate passed several bills on Thursday to help improve school safety in the state.

“Every student in Michigan deserves a secure and safe place to learn,” said Senator Margaret O’Brien, R-Portage. “From boosting building security, improving the confidential OK2SAY program and establishing a state Office of School Safety, the legislation approved today empowers our school districts with tools and resources necessary to help accomplish that goal.”

Senate Bill 990, sponsored by O’Brien as part of the plan, would require school officials to consult with law enforcement before constructing or renovating buildings.

“An important part of securing our schools is beefing up the safety measures in the buildings themselves,” O’Brien said. “By consulting with law enforcement officials, school districts would be better informed when making decisions about building security when renovating or constructing facilities.”

Other bills in the Senate’s school safety plan include:

  • SB 991 to require a school’s governing body to provide the state police biannually with an emergency contact who would receive information submitted through the school safety hotline 24 hours a day, 365 days a year;
  • SB 982 to create the Office of School Safety within the state police to update school safety practices, offer training to school staff and oversee use of school safety grants;
  • SB 983 to require school districts to conduct a safety assessment with a local law enforcement agency for each school building by the 2019-2020 school year and at least every two years thereafter and require school districts to develop an emergency operations plan by Jan. 1, 2020;
  • SB 957 to eliminate the sunset on the OK2SAY program;
  • SB 958 to require schools to anonymously report thwarted incidents of attempted acts of violence on school grounds or threats of violence made on or off school grounds; and
  • SB 959 to require the Michigan Commission on Law Enforcement Standards to develop statewide training standards for active-shooter situations in schools.

The legislation is in addition to a budget agreement to dedicate $58 million toward school safety initiatives such as mental health programs, OK2SAY and securing our schools.

The legislation now goes to the state House of Representatives for consideration.