Snyder announces School Safety Task Force members

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GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Gov. Rick Snyder’s new task force on school safety includes three people from West Michigan.

Grand Rapids Public Schools Assistant Superintendent and Executive Director of Public Safety Larry Johnson, who also chairs the Board of the National Association of School Safety and Law Enforcement officials, will represent school administrators.

Marshall High School Spanish teacher Nicholas Dent will represent teachers.

Rockford security consultant Brian Gard, who also manages safety and security for a multistate charter school company, was nominated by the Senate majority leader.

Other members include:

  • Bishop Cory Chavis of Canton, a metro Detroit church founder who also works with the Detroit Leadership Academy Middle and High School. His role will be representing parents.
  • Police officer and security company owner David Forystek of Fenton. He was nominated by the speaker of the House.
  • Fraser High School social worker and former French teacher Patricia Kovacs of St. Clair Shores. She was nominated by the Senate minority leader.
  • Fifth- and sixth-grade teacher Rick Joseph of Royal Oak, who was nominated by the House minority leader.
  • Mt. Pleasant Department of Public Safety Chief Paul Lauria, representing law enforcement.
  • Michigan Department of Education official and counselor Elizabeth Newell of Williamston. She will represent mental health professionals.
  • Saline High School student Nolan Wright, who will represent students.

The School Safety Task Force is being chaired by Michigan State Police Col. Kriste Kibbey Etue.

It will advise Snyder’s office and MSP on policies to assess and improve school safety, including building infrastructure and procedures. They’re expected to deliver a report to the governor by the end of November.

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