October 19, 2022
Gov. Whitmer Proclaims Safe Schools Week, Highlights Record School Safety Investments
Education budget included $460 million in school safety and mental health resources, funding for resources officers, governor also signed bipartisan legislation improving school emergency plans
LANSING, Mich. – Governor Gretchen Whitmer proclaimed this week as Safe Schools Week and highlighted Michigan’s record $460 million investment in school safety and mental health support, including effective Michigan State Police programs to bolster campus security and bipartisan legislation to ensure every kid is safe and learning in-person.
“Every kid deserves to feel safe in school so they can stay focused on learning and pursue their potential,” said Governor Whitmer. “I am proud of the record, bipartisan $460 million investment in school safety and mental health we secured in the most recent education budget, including—for the first time ever—dedicated, per-student resources specifically for schools to bolster on-campus safety and mental health services. The budget investments, legislation on critical incidence mapping, and funding to hire more school resources officers proves that we can work together to ensure every parent, teacher, staff member, and student feels safe and supported at school.”
“I have spent the past several months visiting schools all across Michigan to learn more about the investments made by our local districts to help keep kids safe,” said Attorney General Nessel. “While districts, educators and staff work diligently to use whatever resources they can to provide a safer learning environment for students, we must do everything we can to better protect our kids. As Attorney General I know the passage of legislation like Safe Storage bills, combined with more resources for schools to make physical improvements and hire more counselors, are commonsense policies to better protect our children.”
Governor Whitmer’s Record Investments in Student Safety
In July, Governor Whitmer signed a balanced, bipartisan education budget making the highest state per-student investment in Michigan history to improve every kid’s in-class experience. The budget sent $210 million to make schools safer and an additional $250 million to respond to student mental health needs, with every school receiving dedicated per-student funding—$214 for every kid in every district—specifically for campus safety and mental health.
These dedicated school safety and mental health dollars can be used by schools to hire more mental health professionals, harden buildings, and create an intervention system for students who are at-risk. The education budget also allocated an additional $25 million specifically for schools to hire more on-campus school resource officers.
How Michigan District Can Use Student Safety Funds
School districts can use funds from the budget to keep students, teachers, and staff safe. Districts have already started using resources to make several school safety investments, including:
- Installing door security systems: providing an extra layer of security during lockdowns and assisting with barricading doors.
- Testing emergency notification systems: ensuring effective lines of communication from every classroom to the main office or law enforcement and public safety officials.
- Establishing school reunification sites: establishing procedure for pickup for all schools in the event of an evacuation.
- Forming a safety committee: bring together a broad range of perspectives, thoughts, and ideas including but not limited to parents, teachers, staff, local law enforcement.
- Increase collaboration with public safety departments: work closely with local law enforcement, strengthen relationships between teachers, staff, students, and public safety officials.
Critical Incidence Mapping, Oxford Support
In June, Governor Whitmer signed legislation that fully funds risk assessments and critical incidence mapping at every school in the state to help protect students and create safety plans in the event of an emergency. House Bill 6012 was sponsored by Rep. Pamela Hornberger, R–Chesterfield, and a copy can be found here.
HB 6012 also delivered $10 million to Oxford Community Schools to help them recover from the November 2021 shooting. The funds will be used for personnel and additional student supports, including psychologists, family liaisons, mental health staff, school security, additional learning time, legal fees, and the physical restoration of a school building.
Michigan Office of School Safety
The Office of School Safety is committed to delivering quality services to schools that promote safe and secure learning environments to reduce threats, build trust and improve the quality of life for K-12 students in Michigan. The office is housed within the Michigan State Police and works in partnership with the Michigan Department of Education to do the following:
- Assist in the development of model practices for school safety and engage with local law enforcement agencies to assess school buildings for which emergency operations plans are being developed.
- Seek and apply for federal funds relating to school safety and reducing violence and disruptions in schools.
- Provide staff support to the School Safety Commission, which is responsible for making recommendations to the Office of School Safety.
The Office of School Safety has resources available to schools and school districts throughout Michigan, including an emergency operations template, a facility assessment tool, and mental health resources.
OK2SAY is an MSP program housed within the Office of School Safety which allows students to confidentially report tips on potential harm or criminal activities directed at students, school employees, and schools.
The 2021 Annual Report shows that OK2SAY received 6,255 tips spanning 30 categories, with the top three types of tips being:
- Planned School Attack – 1,786
- Threats (e.g., an expression intended to cause pain or injury to a specific individual rather than a school building) – 722
- 34 tips which involved the confiscation of weapons and 86 tips that resulted in the seizure of drugs or alcohol.
- Other (e.g., anxiety, stress, depression, harassment) – 632
OK2SAY is available 24/7 and tips can be submitted the following ways:
- Call: 8-555-OK2SAY (855-565-2729)
- Text: 652729 (OK2SAY)
Anyone can report tips on criminal activities or potential harm directed at students, school employees or schools. Tips can be submitted 24 hours a day, seven days a week.