The Michigan House has passed a school safety plan that would create a statewide school safety commission and provide grant money for schools to improve building security.
Two controversial provisions were removed from the $25 million House plan – including a requirement for new school construction to include metal detectors and a proposal to publicly issue safety “grades” on every school building in the state.
Last month, the state Senate approved its own $18.6 million school safety plan that would fund a grant program for both public and private schools to apply for security improvements; $3 million for an app that provides emergency notifications to police and school employees; and money to upgrade the anonymous threat tipline, OK2Say.
The Senate’s plan does not include a state-wide commission to oversee school safety.
Meanwhile, a separate set of bills was introduced Wednesday to hire more personnel in schools, including resource officers and mental health professionals. The bipartisan three-bill package has been endorsed by a number of education and law enforcement groups.
HB 5966, introduced by Rep. Aaron Miller (R-Sturgis), would create a grant program to improve building security and hire school counselors and psychologists to address students’ mental health needs.
The average caseloads of school counselors, social workers, and psychologists in Michigan are well above recommended levels and higher than other states.
The bills have the backing of the Michigan Sheriffs Association, Michigan Association of School Administrators, Michigan Association of School Boards, Michigan Association of School Psychologists, Michigan Association of School Social Workers, Michigan School Counselors Association, Michigan Association of Chiefs of Police and the Prosecuting Attorneys Association of Michigan. MEA is reviewing this new legislation before taking a position.