GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — A special Michigan House committee focused on safety in schools will have its first meeting on Friday.
The bipartisan task force was formed in response to the Oxford High School shooting on Nov. 30. Three of the eight representatives on the task force are from West Michigan.
“Every time one of these incidents happens in a school, we’re just sick about it,” Rep. Scott VanSingel, R-Grant, said.
The committee, made up of four Republicans and four Democrats, will explore ways to improve safety in schools and prevent future violence.
“The intent of this committee is not just to talk about the issue or score political points or to profit someway off a tragedy, we really want to solve this problem and we don’t know what the final product looks like, there are probably several areas we’re going to identify,” VanSingel said.
There’s also a big emphasis on improving mental health access and resources in schools.
“I think another reason I was asked to be on this task force is I’ve been open with my own personal struggles with mental health,” Rep. Luke Meerman, R-Coopersville, said. “Hopefully, I’ll have some empathy towards all that is happening in the school and those kids who are just struggling.”
Rep. Terry Sabo, D-Muskegon, will also serve on the task force, bringing decades of law enforcement experience to the group. Prior to becoming an elected official, Sabo worked as a police officer and firefighter at various agencies in Muskegon County.
“Let’s talk about ways that we can make schools safer, but I don’t want to make schools like an institution where we have the doors barricaded and that kind of atmosphere, that’s not a good learning atmosphere,” Sabo said.
The task force hopes to release initial recommendation within a month by next month.