GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — At a Monday night meeting, the Grand Rapids Public Schools Board of Education unanimously passed a safe gun storage resolution.
The resolution is a declarative statement from GRPS expressing the need for safety of its students and that students should not have access to firearms.
“We want to make sure that our young people have safe homes to be in and that, even in the home outside of our care, that a gun or that weapon is stored safely and we have responsible owners. We know that when that happens, it decreases the level and the opportunity for our young people and our scholars to bring a gun to school,” board President Kimberley Williams said.
At the Monday night meeting, parents spoke up against a GRPS backpack ban that was instated after several incidents of students bringing guns to school.
One parent criticized lawmakers in Lansing who did not support a series of gun laws that were pushed through by the Democratic majority in the wake of the shooting at Michigan State University. The background check and safe storage laws are expected to go into effect next year.
“I am disappointed because if (senators) and other legislators had stepped up and supported these wildly popular gun reform laws, they would have gone into immediate effect and it could have made a difference in this situation,” parent Marta Johnson said.
The school board said the ban is a temporary solution to interrupt the pattern of students concealing weapons in their backpacks.
“Where was the planning when the first gun was found, the second, the third? The clumsy rollout of the backpack policy made it clear that there was not a productive planning process from the administration and that is both disturbing and disappointing,” parent Leslie Neal said.
“This was just the way that we felt was the safest because of the number of incidents that have come through backpacks,” Superintendent Leadriane Roby said.
School board members say decreasing guns in school is a multifaceted issue that needs support on several fronts, including from parents.
Board members said GRPS would send more information on the safe gun storage resolution to parents by the end of the school year.
A community forum is also scheduled for Saturday from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. at GRPS University at 1400 Fuller Ave. NE, north of Leonard Street.