LANSING, MI — Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed a bill Friday to fund security efforts at schools across the state and additional mental health support for Oxford Community Schools.
The bill provides a total of $14 million to all schools, including traditional public, intermediate school schools and private schools, according to a press release from Whitmer’s office. It fully funds risk assessments and critical incidence mapping to protect students and create safety plans, the release said.
The legislation also provides funding to hire and retain mental health professionals and enhance security measures in Oxford Community Schools, where four students were killed in an alleged attack on the school by another student on Nov. 30.
Whitmer said these efforts will help students “recover from the horrific shooting last year.”
“I am proud to sign this bill to help keep students safe,” Whitmer said in the release. “This bill represents a true collaboration between the legislature, my office, community members, and school leadership to make sure our schools have the tools they need to protect students in cases of school shootings or other critical incidents.”
The funding will help schools evaluate the current safety of their campuses and determine where further investments are needed. It will also help schools ensure their emergency plans and protocols are effective and in-place, the release said.
“I know we can continue working together to make sure we are supporting our students, including improving public safety measures to keep violent criminals out of our schools and off our streets, funding effective law enforcement solutions, and storing firearms safely,” the governor said. “Let’s get it done.”
State Superintendent Michael Rice said while the bill does provide necessary funds to Oxford and other schools across Michigan, there is more work to be done to keep kids safe.
The legislature needs to support Whitmer’s budget request, which plans for a $361 million increase in children’s mental health and $51 million for school safety grants, Rice said. The state superintendent also called on state lawmakers to enact red flag laws and other measures to reduce the likelihood of a gun falling into the hands of those dangerous to themselves or others.
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