Michigan House Republicans
Rep. Steele: Bipartisanship is a must for school safety package
RELEASE|February 14, 2024
Contact: Donni Steele

State Rep. Donni Steele is calling for the state House to consider a bipartisan school safety plan introduced a year ago today.

The plan resulted from months of in-depth work by the Bipartisan School Safety Task Force, which House Republican leadership formed in response to the Oxford High School shooting. The task force published its report in December 2022 after receiving input and support from professionals in law enforcement, education, and mental health.

“In a time when political divides keep deepening, the House needs something for everyone to agree on; I’m confident this school safety legislation is that something,” said Steele, R-Orion Township. “This week, we’re remembering a tragedy at Michigan State University. Being from Lake Orion, I can’t help but draw the connection to our neighboring sister community of Oxford and the terrifying events which occurred there over two years ago. The best was to prevent these horrific events from repeating themselves is to bind together and pass school safety bills. Our kids and communities depend on it.”

The package, House Bills 4088-4100, is designed to organize a unified approach to school safety and student mental health with communication, training, personnel, and more. The plan addresses specific problems identified by the task force: tips submitted to the OK2SAY system not getting to law enforcement officers, an insufficient focus on mental health at schools, a lack of communication between school mental health experts and school resource officers, no active threat training for some school staff, and inconsistent terminology that can lead to poor communication among first responders and police officers from different departments.

To address these problems, the plan would:

  • Establish the School Safety and Mental Health Commission. This commission would identify best practices for schools to address behavioral, physical, and mental health needs. The commission would support at-risk students and work to reduce youth suicides by establishing a comprehensive statewide approach.
  • Dedicate school staff to student safety and mental health. Each intermediate school district will receive funding to hire a safety and security coordinator and a mental health coordinator. These new staff would serve as points of contact for school safety plans, grant opportunities, and mental health and security strategies. They would maintain communication between the state and school districts within the ISD, while also facilitating communication between other school districts in their region.
  • Plan for safety. Schools would be required to review and update their safety plans every three years in consultation with their ISD-level safety coordinator, and statewide standards would guide the implementation of modern security measures for school buildings.
  • Expand and improve OK2SAY. Contact information for the OK2SAY confidential tip line would be placed on school ID cards for easy student access. Reporting and tips received by OK2SAY would be passed on to the ISD coordinators and local law enforcement; reporting and tips would also be provided quarterly to the School Safety and Mental Health Commission. Higher standards and new reporting definitions for OK2SAY would also be adopted.
  • Improve responses to school safety crises. The plan would require the Michigan State Police to provide uniform, comprehensive school safety and security training for school resource officers and all staff at Michigan schools. It would also create uniform definitions statewide for school safety terms, such as lockdowns, to foster better communication during crisis events. Other provisions would add more active-shooter drills and ensure at least one drill includes local law enforcement involvement and one is conducted between classes.


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