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School Safety Task Force report shows potential consensus on recommendations

Beenish Ahmed
Michigan Radio

Funding school safety coordinator positions, standardizing active shooter drills, and updating building codes to account for school threats are all topics of bills in the works in the Michigan House of Representatives.

The planned legislation is the result of the bi-partisan School Safety Task Force. It formed after a deadly school shooting at Oxford High School last November.

The group recently released a progress report.

State Representative Luke Meerman (R-Coopersville) said he wouldn't be surprised if the bills were introduced in stages, instead of one-by-one.

“I think things get lost then sometimes if the effort is kind of spread out too far, whereas if you can have a whole series of bills working on school safety, school mental health, they’re going to get more of the attention and attraction,” Meerman said.

Many of the bills being drafted come from recommendations of another school safety group from 2018 that hadn’t been implemented.

Meerman said he hopes to see movement on at least some of the task force’s suggestions by this summer.

“You’d be surprised how much time there is between concept and agreement," he said. "And how much time it takes to actually write that idea into law,” Meerman said.

The letter outlines several potential recommendations focused on health support and threat reduction. But none involve firearm safety.

“It’s definitely something we, the taskforce, have had conversations about. And long conversations, and sometimes hard conversations, but we’ll be recommending things all eight members can get behind,” Meerman said, though he acknowledged that he didn’t want to speak for the other task force members.