Skip to main content
Bridge Michigan
Michigan’s nonpartisan, nonprofit news source

Opinion | Michigan can do more to ensure school safety, but bills languish

Nov. 30, 2021, will always have deep impact in Michigan. That’s the day four students lost their lives inside Oxford High School. Eight others were shot and hundreds hid terrified inside classrooms. Moms and dads got texts from panicked children, told them they loved them and tried to offer reassurance – even though they were also terrified.

Rep. Jaime Greene
Rep. Jaime Greene serves the 65th House District, which covers portions of eastern Lapeer, western St. Clair, and northern Macomb counties. She is the Republican vice chair of the House Education Committee.

The task force released its report in December 2022. When I took office in January 2023, I enthusiastically agreed to sponsor one of the bills that made up the bipartisan plan to implement the task force’s recommendations.

The resulting legislation, House Bills 4088-4100, aims to enhance school safety and student mental health through various measures, including:

  • Hiring safety and mental health coordinators in each intermediate school district to improve communication, training, and strategies.
  • Requiring schools to update safety plans every three years with input from district-level coordinators and implementing modern security measures.
  • Enhancing the OK2SAY tip line by including its contact information on school ID cards, improving reporting standards, and ensuring tips are passed to relevant authorities.
  • Mandating comprehensive safety training for school staff and resource officers, establishing uniform definitions for safety terms and increasing active-shooter drills with law enforcement involvement.
  • Creating the School Safety and Mental Health Commission to identify and promote best practices for addressing behavioral and mental health needs, supporting at-risk students, and reducing youth suicides.
  • Ensuring new school buildings include features such as safer corners and bullet-resistant glass to address modern security issues.
  • Ensuring all school buildings can be equipped with radio repeaters to make certain that school resource officers and other first responders can utilize their emergency communications equipment within the walls of the school.

More than a year has gone by since those bills were introduced, and they have yet to receive a hearing. I serve as the minority vice chair of the House Education Committee, where the bills were referred. We haven’t even had a single meeting where school safety was discussed. Why isn’t this a priority?

We cannot afford to let this important legislation linger in legislative limbo. We owe it to our children to move forward with urgency and diligence, acknowledging that their safety and mental health are non-negotiable priorities. It’s time for this bipartisan plan to receive the attention and action it deserves.

How impactful was this article for you?

Bridge welcomes guest columns from a diverse range of people on issues relating to Michigan and its future. The views and assertions of these writers do not necessarily reflect those of Bridge or The Center for Michigan. Bridge does not endorse any individual guest commentary submission. If you are interested in submitting a guest commentary, please contact David Zeman. Click here for details and submission guidelines.

Only donate if we've informed you about important Michigan issues

See what new members are saying about why they donated to Bridge Michigan:

  • “In order for this information to be accurate and unbiased it must be underwritten by its readers, not by special interests.” - Larry S.
  • “Not many other media sources report on the topics Bridge does.” - Susan B.
  • “Your journalism is outstanding and rare these days.” - Mark S.

If you want to ensure the future of nonpartisan, nonprofit Michigan journalism, please become a member today. You, too, will be asked why you donated and maybe we'll feature your quote next time!

Pay with VISA Pay with MasterCard Pay with American Express Pay with PayPal Donate Now