NEWAYGO COUNTY, Mich. — A broad coalition of Michigan law-enforcement and education groups recently presented a plan they say would help prevent classroom violence – and the Newaygo County Sheriff is among those expressing support for it.
Sheriff Bob Mendham urged lawmakers Wednesday to support the measure, which he says would go a long ways toward “protecting our children, and providing them with a safe and secure learning environment…”.
The Michigan School Safety Reform Plan calls for a $100 million grant program to be established for the personnel to make it happen, plus a $20 million grant program for safety infrastucture. In addition, the plan would entail:
• More school resource officers—sheriffs and police—working in school facilities through a new state grant program;
• More school mental health professionals to identify problems early through the same new state grant program;
• Grants to ensure safer buildings for students and teachers; and
• Mandatory reporting of threats and graduated penalties to help prevent violence.
Sheriff Mendham says creating a safe and secure environment is “our top priority.” He points out there have been more than 40 threats of school violence in Michigan just since the massacre at a Parkland, Florida high school on February 14, 2018. According to a Newagyo County news release, that’s the fifth-highest threat total in the United States. And the Sheriff’s Office says police have answered a dozen threats of violence to Newaygo County school districts since then – and four people have been criminally charged.
The Newaygo County Sheriff’s Office says the following organizations back the Michigan School Safety Reform Plan:
Michigan Sheriffs Association
Michigan Association of School Administrators
Michigan Association of School Boards
Michigan Association of School Psychologists
Michigan Association of School Social Workers
Michigan School Counselors Association
Michigan Association of Chiefs of Police
Prosecuting Attorneys Association of Michigan