PORTAGE, Mich. (WOOD) — The Kalamazoo area came together Thursday night to discuss school safety at a community forum.
The meeting organized by State Rep. Christine Morse, D-Texas Township, was already scheduled to address the tragedy at Oxford High School before the mass shooting occurred at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas.
It covered a variety of ideas to prevent gun violence in schools, from adding police officers in districts to improving funding for mental health resources.
Rick Omilian lost his daughter to gun violence and is now calling for change and focused on safe gun storage.
“My daughter’s name was Maggie Wordel. She was a student at Kalamazoo College in 1999. She was killed by an ex-boyfriend with a gun on the campus,” Omilian said.
Morse held up a notebook full of gun bills that are stuck in committee. She says the legislature needs to do more to protect kids.
“It hits me in the gut. I’ve been very emotional this week,” Morse said. “It’s a never ending debate partly because we never do anything. The Democrats have introduced over 40 pieces of legislation to try to impact school violence.”
Morse says funding is being appropriated to help school districts map buildings to share blueprints with law enforcement and money has also been approved $8.5 million in aid to Oxford Schools.
Karen Gallagher, a Portage parent with three elementary school students, says having difficult conversations are important to protect kids and parents need more guidance from districts.
“Honestly getting my kids to school, getting them home, feeding them is the top of my priority list. I need help to be able to know how to engage with them,” Gallagher said.