LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) — The Bipartisan School Safety Task Force has released its final report regarding security in Michigan schools.
The task force was created by the speaker of the Michigan House of Representatives after the mass shooting at Oxford High School.
Members of the group include Reps. Luke Meerman, Kelly Breen, Gary Eisen, Ranjeev Puri, Scott VanSingel, Sara Cambensy, Pamela Hornberger and Terry Sabo.
“Every child has a fundamental right to a safe and respectful learning environment,” the report began.
The report determined six policy areas:
- Mental Health
- Includes affordability, accessibility, and what can be delivered broadly to students and identifying students that need more assistance.
- Task Force members further identified the need to ensure educators across the board have support and services as well.
- School Hardening
- This includes structural and security improvements such as double entranceways, sufficient door-locking devices, surveillance systems and other physical defenses.
- Data, Processes and Procedures
- This would include the methods and sharing of data from schools and standardizing protocols, threat assessments and safety procedures.
- Retention, recruitment and training of educators and staff.
- Firearms/Criminal Justice
- In addition to firearms, disciplinary issues and restorative justice protocols are essential to address.
- Education & Public Service Information
- Integration of programs such as OK2Say, Know the Signs, social-emotional learning methods and other behavioral awareness and violence prevention programs can have a critical impact on violence reduction and improving mental health.
Around 13 bills were drafted by the Task Force and other members of the House of Representatives.
Additionally, the task force was unanimously all in favor of the following:
- Schools should have lockdown kits that include supplies for potentially extended lockdowns.
- Schools should have window ladders for rooms on upper levels.
- All doors should have the ability to lock.
- Cameras in classrooms as needed.
- Reduce barriers to entry for new school counselors and look at ways to get more professionals into the mental health field or add to the scope of practice for existing professionals like Physicians Assistants.
- Recommend the new commission provide guidance on the types of staff experience required for the incident risk assessment team.