LANSING, Mich. — Sen. John Proos on Wednesday supported increased funding to make critical school safety improvements and help prevent school tragedies.
“As a parent of young children still in school, I understand the importance of ensuring that every Michigan child has a safe place to learn and grow,” said Proos, R-St. Joseph. “This immediate funding would give our schools and our community first responders the tools and resources they need to keep our children safe.
“Although many schools have already made vital school safety upgrades, this bill would provide $15 million for competitive grants for schools to buy technology and equipment or conduct school assessments to enhance security.”
The funding is included in Senate Bill 601, a supplemental appropriation bill for the current 2018 fiscal year. The grants would be available to public and nonpublic schools to purchase physical security equipment, public address systems, inspection and screening systems, shatterproof glass for exterior doors and windows or a school safety assessment.
SB 601 includes $3 million to provide for a statewide school emergency notification system.
“This alert system would be available to all Michigan schools,” Proos said. “The app would allow users to call 911 while simultaneously providing alerts via text message, e-mail and push notifications to school staff and area first responders.”
The bill also features an additional $500,000 to promote Michigan’s OK2SAY hotline and $150,000 for the Michigan State Police to add staff for the program.
“Attorney General Bill Schuette’s OK2SAY program does a fantastic job in helping protect our children and save lives by providing students with a 24-hour confidential tip line to report concerns or threats,” Proos said. “It is great that Michigan already has a proactive program to help keep schools safe, and I am proud to double the promotion of OK2SAY to raise student awareness about this initiative.
“OK2SAY is the state’s most effective prevention-based reporting mechanism, with the attorney general’s office recently announcing another record-breaking month.”
In March, OK2SAY received 980 tips — topping the previous record by more than 300. It brings the total number of tips received through OK2SAY to 12,879.
Students can report tips by calling 1-855-OK-2-SAY (65-2-729), texting a message to 652729, emailing email@example.com or filling out a form at www.mi.gov/ok2say. An app is also available in the app stores for iPhone and Android devices.
SB 601 was approved by the Senate Appropriations Committee on Wednesday and now heads to the full Senate for consideration.
Editor’s note: Audio comments by Proos will be available at www.SenatorJohnProos.com/Audio.