GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — School security will be top of mind Monday night as the Grand Rapids Public Schools Board of Education meets for its regular session.
The district enacted a mandatory backpack ban May 10 after four instances this school year in which a student — all middle school age or younger — brought a gun to school. The most recent case was last week when a third-grader brought a loaded gun to Stocking Elementary. No one was hurt.
While the ban is a short-term solution for the district, GRPS has hired Secure Education Consultants to conduct a full security review. The six-month assessment will include a review of all the district’s physical buildings and a procedural review.
“It’s looking at everything that could impact security. It’s glass, it’s doors, it’s cameras, it’s parking lots, it’s areas surrounding the schools,” said Jason Russell, president of Secure Education Consultants. “So looking at any potential gaps, weaknesses or things that might cause a risk.”
Russell said his team will look at vulnerabilities and provide recommendations to shore up gaps in security.
The assessment will start no later than this fall. It could take up to six months for the security company to complete.
Russell told News 8 that the safety of school age children and staffers comes down to multiple layers of safety.
“Whether it’s a weapon detection system (or) a metal detector, any kind of physical security measure you put in place is a layer,” Russell said. “And really what we want to do with security is put as many layers in as we possibly can. You have to think about how you’re going to operationalize them, how you’re going to use them. Can we staff them properly? Can we use them properly?”
The district is exploring several options, including installing more security cameras and reinstalling metal detectors within schools.
Russell will be at Saturday’s school safety forum to answer any questions from families.
The meeting will run from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. at GRPS University at 1400 Fuller Ave. NE, north of Leonard Street.