LANSING, Mich. – State Sen. Marty Knollenberg voted on Wednesday to add $18.6 million to support school safety initiatives throughout the state.
The Senate Appropriations Committee approved a current year budget supplemental to add the funds, which would make strategic investments to assess and boost school building security, expand the OK2SAY program that encourages students to confidentially report suspicious activity, and to create a statewide mobile notification alert system to improve coordination and response during a potential security incident.
“Improving security, training and communication at our schools is the best way to prepare and protect students for incidents like the shooting in Parkland, Florida,” said Sen. Marty Knollenberg, R-Troy. “While many communities have already taken action to make improvements, this bill would provide immediate funding to schools and first responders to help ensure they have the tools and resources necessary to keep students safe.”
Senate Bill 601 would provide $15 million for competitive grants for schools to buy technology and equipment or conduct school assessments to enhance security. The grants would allow 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.
Additionally, SB 601 includes $3 million to provide for a statewide school emergency notification application, which would allow school staff and first responders to improve real time communication and coordinated response efforts. The bill would also invest $650,000 more to increase awareness of the state’s OK2SAY program and to hire more staff to better respond to potential threats.
“This bill is part of a comprehensive effort to enact common sense, effective legislation to help keep students safe at school,” Knollenberg said.
SB 601 now heads to the full Senate for consideration.
Editor’s note: Confidential tips may be reported to OK2SAY by calling 1-855-OK-2-SAY (65-2-729), texting a message to 652729, emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or filling out a form at www.mi.gov/ok2say. An app is also available in the app stores for iOS and Android devices.