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Keeping our children safe at school should be a top priority


A column by state Rep. Kathy Schmaltz, R-Jackson

In the wake of the tragedies at Oxford High School and Michigan State University, the urgency to prioritize school safety and bolster mental health support for Michigan students is so important. Yet, as one of the state representatives spearheading bipartisan legislation aimed at implementing crucial recommendations from the school safety task force, I find myself deeply disheartened by the partisan games preventing meaningful action. Why are people playing politics with our children’s safety?

Over a year ago, we introduced House Bills 4088-4100 with the intention of addressing the pressing need for safer schools and enhanced mental health resources. These bills, which are backed by a tremendous amount of public support, deserved immediate attention. However, despite their significance, the House Education Committee just had one hearing on only a small part of the package.

Instead, the committee has taken up issues that are far less important to most Michiganders.

Every school shooting reignites calls for action. Let’s not wait for another one. We need to act now.

Students, parents, and educators want their leaders to find real solutions to ensure the safety and well-being of our children. People are frustrated by the Legislature’s lack of action. I am, too. I do not understand why legislation that seems so common-sense remains stalled.

House Bills 4088-4100 offer a comprehensive approach to addressing school safety concerns. By establishing dedicated staff for school safety and mental health support, implementing regular safety plan reviews, and standardizing emergency response protocols, these bills represent a proactive step toward safeguarding our schools.

My own bill calls for regular safety plan updates in consultation with ISD-level safety coordinators. It’s a smart solution aimed at ensuring that our schools remain prepared and ready in the face of potential threats.

However, recent indications suggest that even these vital bills may be ignored, driven by petty political games rather than genuine concern for the well-being of Michigan’s students. Such behavior is truly upsetting and very much at odds with the responsibilities you entrusted to us as representatives.

The people of Michigan didn’t send us to Lansing to play partisan games. They expect us to rise above politics and work toward solutions that address their most pressing concerns. House Bills 4088-4100 represent exactly that—a bipartisan effort to prioritize the safety and welfare of our children.

It’s time to set aside partisan differences and prioritize the needs of our communities. We owe it to the students, parents, and educators who look to us for leadership and protection. Let’s do the right thing and make school safety a top priority.

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State Rep. Kathy Schmaltz R-Jackson, serves Michigan’s 46th House District, which includes portions of Jackson and Washtenaw counties.



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