GRPS to prepare students, staff for potential shootings

Grand Rapids

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Students will soon be heading back to school and in light of this weekend’s mass shootings, their safety is on the front of parents and teachers’ minds. 

Mary Bouwense of the Grand Rapids Education Association says teachers are prepared for the worst and will be ready to address the fears and concerns of their students. 

“I’m sure that fear will be on the front of everybody’s mind when school starts,” Bouwense said. “I know the teachers will start with what you do during a tornado drill, what do you do for, you know, a fire drill, and the code red drill for an active shooter is the same thing.”

The concept behind these drills is prevention, safety and survival. Bouwense continued in saying while these recent mass shootings are alarming, parents shouldn’t be afraid to send their children to school.

“I think it’s a culture of fear,” Bouwense remarked. “I think the whole attitude sends a message to students that you’re never safe; and school is supposed to be a safe place. It’s supposed to be, and most of the time it is.”

The GREA represents nearly 2,000 educators who work in the Grand Rapids Public School district. Bouwense says these educators are well-prepared to keep their students safe. 

GRPS is in the process of implementing more than $10 million in facility and safety upgrades, including security cameras and additional technology. 

Bouwense, who started her teaching career in the seventies says the education environment has changed as she says it is now filled with distractions and fear, brings new challenges for teachers. 

Challenges she says they are ready to face if they must.

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