School and Student Safety

School and Student Safety

All children deserve to learn in a safe and secure environment. Berrien County education leaders are committed to that end and have developed a strong working relationship with the Michigan State Police, Berrien County Sheriff’s Department, countywide emergency response personnel, and local municipal police offices. Together with authorities, school districts have developed emergency response plans and work to educate staff and students with routine safety training and practice drills.

Over the past few years, legislators have discussed a number of strategies to help schools prepare and defend themselves should an act of violence occur on school grounds. While appreciative of recent grants awarded to schools to upgrade security systems and facilities, legislation that promotes gun access continues to be introduced. Berrien County superintendents feel strongly that guns do not belong in our schools, even with a permit.

Call to Action

  • DO NOT authorize permits for conceal and carry opportunities on school grounds.
  • Provide specific and sustained funding so that a school resource officer can be available in every school district.
  • Provide support for continued staff and student school crisis training (school violence, weather drills, staging for reunification process, etc.).
  • Provide funding for schools to annually test water and offer support should PFAs, lead or any other contaminant need to be mitigated.

Did you know?

The Columbine High School shooting occurred on April 20, 1999. Nineteen years later, the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting occurred. According to a 2018 study from Pew Research, 57 percent of U.S. teens ages 13 to 17 say they are at least somewhat worried about the possibility of a shooting happening at their school, and parents of children within the same age range feel the same way.

According to the Everytown for Gun Safety Fund, the best way to protect American children and schools from shootings is to pass comprehensive gun safety laws that can prevent people with dangerous histories from ever getting a gun, some examples of which include:

  • Background checks on all gun sales.
  • Red Flag laws (empowers family members and law enforcement to petition a judge to temporarily block a person from having guns if they pose a danger to themselves or others).
  • Keep guns out of the hands of domestic abusers.
  • Raise the minimum age to 21 years old for the purchase of semi-automatic rifles and shotguns to match the minimum purchase age for handguns.
  • Enact responsible Storage & Child Access Prevention laws.
  • Offer responsible Storage Public Awareness programs.

Current Legislation

Bill Number
 Description
SB 72
Provides for a prohibition on certain schools disclosing records to parents when disclosure is prohibited by a personal protection order.
SB 106, HB 4017 and 4164
Prohibits the sale of electronic cigarettes or any oral device that provides vapor nicotine to minors.
SB 216 and HB 4195
Information regarding sexual assault/harassment for students.
SB 283
Repeals language relating to the authority of school districts and employees to administer opioid antagonists.
SB 386 Allows model instructional videos regarding the dangers of prescription opioid drug abuse to be implemented in certain curricula.
 SB 531 Modifies policies and procedures about the prohibition of bullying in school.
HB 4020
Allows for the purchase and possession stun guns for individuals over 21.
HB 4021
Establishes a lifetime concealed pistol license.
HB 4026
Requires a concealed pistol license for individuals to carry concealed pistols in pistol-free zones.
HB 4029
Eliminates the prohibition on carrying a concealed pistol.
HB 4039
Establishes Youth Tobacco Act and prohibits the sale of tobacco to minors under 21.
HB 4064
Lead testing and removal in schools/child care centers.
HB 4066 and 4067
Manual fire alarm boxes.
HB 4195
Requires school districts to provide training related to student disclosures about assaults and to have a policy regarding sexual abuse.
HB 4216
Requires instruction on bullying prevention for teaching certification.
HB 4277 and 4278
Allows teachers and other school employees to carry pepper spray or tasers in school and on school property under certain circumstances.
HB 4333 and 4334
Funding for AED machines and First Aid response kits.
HB 4376 and 4377
Includes K-12 coaches and volunteers as mandatory reporters of suspected child abuse or neglect.
HB 4379
Prohibits pupils from being expelled for reporting sexual assault incidents.
HB 4382
Requires school district to request certain information on unprofessional conduct for job applicants and asks the district to report information to MDE.
 HB 4689 Allows temporary door barricade devices in school buildings and provides standards for their use. Schools are not mandated to use the devices and have the choice to do so.
 HB 4739 Requires annual inspections of all public and nonpublic schools for health and safety violations.
 S. 1254  Stop for School Buses Act of 2019
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