School Safety Task Force releases final report

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LANSING, Mich. (WOOD) — The group tasked with reviewing school safety in Michigan found more can done to ensure students will come home from school every day.

The School Safety Task Force, appointed by Gov. Rick Snyder, gave its final report after spending months reviewing protocols and security measures districts take around the state.

“The possibility of a significant violent act occurring in our schools is reason enough to prepare for such an event in advance,” the report said.

It details 29 recommendations, which include requiring all schools to conduct a security assessment both in and outside the building, implementing emergency response protocols laid out by the state and strengthening communication and collaboration between districts moving forward.

The task force also recommended more emphasis be put on promoting the OK2SAY program as a resource for students to report threats or concerns about fellow students.

The program received 683 tips in November, raising the total to more than 16,600 tips received since the statewide program was first implemented in Sept. 2014. Training and presentations about the program are offered through the Michigan Attorney General’s office.

The task force also reviewed current discipline standards throughout the state and recommended districts consider alternatives when addressing behavioral issues.

Expanding on-site mental and behavioral health services at schools was another recommendation — including comprehensive training for all school staff to properly address different situations that could impact student safety and well-being.

“While some identified actions can begin immediately, many of the recommended actions detailed in this report will require either funding or legislative changes, or a combination of both, to carry out the recommendation,” the report says.

The School Safety Task Force formed through an executive order by Snyder. The group includes three people from West Michigan.

Snyder released the following statement regarding the task force:

“I’d like to thank the School Safety Task Force for its hard work over the summer and I am pleased we’ve already awarded $25 million in grant funding to add security to school buildings across Michigan. I will be working with the legislature on implementing what recommendations I can before the end of the year. This includes creating a better system for comprehensive and integrated student mental health and creating a permanent body to continue advising the future Governor and Legislature on this important issue.”

-Governor Rick Snyder

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