Michigan community leaders gather to discuss school safety

LANSING, Mich. (WILX) — It’s easy to raise your arms in frustration and despair over school security, especially the Oxford and Uvalde shootings. But school leaders and legislators don’t have that luxury – they have to come up with solutions. On July 11, 2022, they met at Thorburn Education Center in Mason to discuss what more can be done.

“Ingham County Schools have hired additional people for mental health support. We have appointed Inclusion and Awareness Coordinators. We hired extra school social workers, school nurses, trained as many people as we could. And in reality, it still hasn’t been enough,” Holt Schools Superintendent David Hornak said.

That’s why he joined lawmakers, business leaders and other superintendents for the conversation — a conversation a state official said was long overdue.

“If we don’t finally start having courageous conversations about how to keep our children safe when they are in the care of our school buildings, it won’t be about ‘if there will be another act of violence in one of our buildings, “when will it be,” Rep. Sarah Anthony (D) Lansing said.

Lawmakers talked about the bipartisan effort plan to invest $50 million in mental health and school safety. A local senator said you can’t talk about school safety without talking about guns.

“Red flag laws, magazine capacity limits, safe storage laws, background checks are all school safety essentials that have no conversation in the current legislature,” a said Sen. Curtis Hertel (D) East Lansing.

The East Lansing Superintendent assured parents that their children would be safe at school. She hopes their conversation will bring some change and some relief.

“I think Oxford has brought it back here and really put it at the top of our priority list in terms of new measures and measures that we may not have taken before in terms of school safety,” said East Lansing Schools Superintendent Dori. Leyko.

“And there are a lot of superintendent sleepless nights when you lie down at 3 a.m. staring at the ceiling and wondering ‘hey, did I make the right decision today to open school tomorrow,'” a said Williamston Schools Superintendent Adam Spina.

And that’s why school leaders say this conversation is so important.

The National Center for Education Statistics reports that 70% of public schools have reported an increase in the number of students seeking mental health services since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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