LANSING, Mich. — The Senate passed several bills on Thursday to help improve school safety in the state.

“This is a broad-reaching plan that will help improve security, training and communication at our schools to help prepare and protect students and staff,” said Sen. Marty Knollenberg, R-Troy. “In that effort, my bill ensures school districts work with local law enforcement agencies on building preparedness and long-term emergency planning.”

Senate Bill 983, sponsored by Knollenberg, would require school districts to conduct a safety assessment with a local law enforcement agency for each school building by the 2019-2020 school year and at least every two years thereafter. It would also require school districts to develop an emergency operations plan by Jan. 1, 2020.

Other bills in the Senate’s school safety plan include:

  • SB 990 to require school officials to consult with law enforcement before constructing or renovating buildings;
  • SB 991 to require a school’s governing body to provide the state police biannually with an emergency contact who would receive information submitted through the school safety hotline 24 hours a day, 365 days a year;
  • SB 982 to create the Office of School Safety within the state police to update school safety practices, offer training to school staff and oversee use of school safety grants;
  • SB 957 to eliminate the sunset on the OK2SAY program;
  • SB 958 to require schools to anonymously report thwarted incidents of attempted acts of violence on school grounds or threats of violence made on or off school grounds; and
  • SB 959 to require the Michigan Commission on Law Enforcement Standards to develop statewide training standards for active-shooter situations in schools.

The reforms are on top of a budget agreement to dedicate $58 million toward school safety initiatives such as mental health programs, OK2SAY and securing our schools.

The legislation now goes to the state House of Representatives for consideration.