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School safety plans debated by House committee

Students sitting at desks in a classroom with a teacher at the front of the room

The Legislature opened hearings today  on plans to make schools safer from guns and violence. It’s the first actions in Lansing since the school shooting in Parkland, Florida.

But there’s little agreement on what to do. School and law enforcement officials opposed plans to put metal detectors in schools. Michigan State Police Lt. Amy Dehner testified before a state House committee. She said grading schools on their security arrangements, and making the grades public is a bad idea.

“If I’m a bad actor looking to do bad things, I’m going to seek out the schools that don’t have the badge, or simply don’t advertise it," Dehner said.

Gladwin County Sheriff Michael Shea told a state House committee the focus needs to be on adults connecting with students, and making sure school buildings are physically secure.

“When the law enforcement responds to an incident, that’s a little late,” Shea said.

At about the same time, a state Senate committee approved spending $18 million to help schools improve their security. The bills include no new restrictions on guns.

Rick Pluta is Senior Capitol Correspondent for the Michigan Public Radio Network. He has been covering Michigan’s Capitol, government, and politics since 1987.
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