LANSING, Mich. – A bipartisan task force has been formed with a mission to make schools safer.
Members on both sides of the aisle say everything needs to be on the table, including gun control.
The task force plans to meet weekly and hopes to find some common ground on issues where there often hasn’t been a lot. Members said they are optimistic about what lies ahead.
The task force includes four Democrats and four Republicans. The scope of the committee is broad, as schools and parents have called for help in preventing school shootings following the deadly shooting at Oxford High School.
“Nothing should be off the table. You know, everything that focuses on school safety, student, educator, teacher, mental health, getting resources to schools for resource officers. Everything’s on the table,” Rep. Pamela Hornberger (R-Chesterfield Township).
Mental health is a major topic. Michigan schools have one of the highest ratios of students-to-counselors and school psychologists in the country.
“It is a huge issue right now for students, for families, for educators -- and we can’t ignore it,” Hornberger said. “It was bad before the pandemic and I think the pandemic has exasperated it. So it’s something that we definitely need to take a look at.”
Another topic up for debate is gun ownership and responsibility. A third rail in politics that has hindered meaningful results in other states and in Washington D.C.
“I ca tell you that I started these conversations by talking with my colleagues across the aisle to see where we can find that common ground. And we already have a lot of legislation out there, however, for the most part has been partisan,” Rep. Kelly Breen (D-Novi) said. “If we want to accomplish anything in this arena, it’s going to have to be bipartisan and it’s going to be tough.”
If you become aware of crimes at, or threats toward someone at a Michigan school, you can submit an anonymous tip to the OK2SAY tipline online. You can also make a tip by calling 855-565-2729, texting 652729, or emailing OK2SAY@mi.gov. If it’s an emergency, call 911.