By Simon Albaugh – Yemeni American News
Lansing, Mich. – On Friday, Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed a bipartisan bill approving $14 million in an effort to address safety and security concerns for public, private and intermediate schools in the state of Michigan.
The bill also offers additional funding to Oxford Community Schools, where a school shooting late last year left four students killed and seven injured at the hands of a disturbed student.
“Today we are also proud to deliver necessary resources to Oxford Community Schools so they can hire more mental health staff and offer additional learning time to their students as they recover from the horrific shooting last year,” said Governor Whitmer. “I know we can continue working together to make sure we are supporting our students, including improving public safety measures to keep violent criminals out of our schools and off our streets, funding effective law enforcement solutions, and storing firearms safely.”
The bill was approved by both the Michigan House and Senate, with no one voting against the appropriation in both the house and senate votes. House Bill 6012 was initially introduced by representative Pamela Hornberger (R – Chesterfield) on April 13, 2022. By June 10, the bill was signed into law by Governor Whitmer, taking immediate effect.
“We carefully listened to the needs expressed by Oxford and worked with them to provide the tools they need to recover from the lasting impact of the tragedy that students, staff and the building itself withstood,” said Representative Hornberger, who is a former public school teacher. “This funding plan will help obtain and retain mental health professionals necessary to help with trauma response, help cover legal and public relations costs, provide enhanced security features, cover the costs for damage to the school property, and more.”
The bill as approved by Governor Whitmer allocates $9.8 million to Oxford Community Schools for fulfilling the need of additional funds and resources as a result of the school shooting. Building repairs, enhanced security, and additional funding for staff to continue the school year were all outlined in House Bill 6012.
Along with the funding for Oxford schools, the state will also provide grant opportunities for school districts to implement risk assessments that could help schools determine their need for enhanced security. With a total of $14 million being dispursed to every school in the state, the goal is to provide schools with the opportunity to ensure “that emergency plans and protocols are effective and in place,” reads a press release.
School districts will be able to access this funding through a grant process, however each school is limited to $2,000 from the Michigan Department of Education for risk assessments.
“I am proud to sign this bill to help keep students safe,” said Governor Whitmer. “This bill represents a true collaboration between the legislature, my office, community members and school leadership to make sure our schools have the tools they need to protect students in cases of school shootings or other critical incidents.”