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Rep. Thompson: Legislature must get in gear with bipartisan school safety plans

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Rep. Thompson: Legislature must get in gear with bipartisan school safety plans

State Rep. Jamie Thompson, of Brownstown, today said existing school safety legislation should be a priority for the Legislature in the coming weeks and continued foot-dragging could endanger students, school staff, and families.

In March, the House Education Committee held a hearing on some elements of a bipartisan school safety package – including measures that would expand the OK2SAY tip reporting program, dedicate a permanent commission to school safety and security, and require behavioral threat assessments.

But Thompson said further action is needed to keep students safe and give families peace of mind by holding votes on the plans and providing hearings on additional bills that update emergency planning and train staff to work with and better utilize school resource officers.

“Parents want to know their kids are safe at school,” Thompson said. “Given the current legislative split in the House, this should have been something we could find common ground on and get to the governor. Unfortunately, Democrats in majority have not deemed this to be a priority – and that is shocking given the tragedies we have seen unfold in our state and when we’re talking about legislation that will help protect our kids and provide hardworking staff with additional tools to help head off issues.”

The legislative package, which came in response to deadly mass shootings at Oxford High School and Michigan State University, was referred to the House Education Committee on Feb. 14, 2023 – with more than a year passing between introduction and a hearing. In testimony before the House Education Committee, Melissa Kree, who has been a psychologist at Oxford Community Schools for 12 years, said the legislation has the potential to save lives and would provide districts with a structure for addressing threats.

Inaction on school safety has also been seen outside of the Legislature. A member of the State Board of Education introduced three resolutions in a recent meeting that would urge lawmakers to create a statewide emergency response plan, require annual school safety inspections, establish a database of student deaths and injuries, remove protections shielding public school officials from legal liability, and more. Only two members – both Republicans – of the eight-member board voted in favor of the resolutions.

“Protecting our children and looking out for families shouldn’t be a polarizing issue,” Thompson said. “Keeping kids safe with commonsense reforms gives our families a win. That’s far more important than one side scoring a political win. It’s important that we move on these issues in the Legislature.”



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