Zorn supports immediate school safety investments

Sen. Dale Zorn

Sen. Dale Zorn

LANSING, Mich. — Sen. Dale Zorn on Thursday supported a boost in current-year funding to make critical school safety improvements and help prevent school tragedies.

“We owe it to all Michigan children to ensure that they have a safe and productive environment to learn,” said Zorn, R-Ida. “I voted for this important school safety funding to make sure our schools and communities have access to the resources they need to keep our children safe.”

The funding is included in Senate Bill 601, a supplemental appropriation bill for the current 2018 fiscal year. Grants would be available to public and nonpublic schools to purchase physical security equipment or a school safety assessment.

“While many schools already have acted to protect students, this measure would provide $15 million for grants for schools to make vital school security enhancements,” Zorn said. “This initiative would also provide $3 million for a statewide school emergency notification system that would be available to all Michigan schools.”

The system app would allow authorized users to call 911 while simultaneously providing alerts to school staff and area first responders via text message, email and push notifications.

SB 601 also features an additional $500,000 to promote Michigan’s OK2SAY hotline and $150,000 for the Michigan State Police to add staff for the program.

“OK2SAY is an effective, 24-hour hotline that gives students an easy and confidential way to speak up about threats or concerns,” Zorn said. “The program is working to protect our children and save lives, and I am proud to help raise student awareness of OK2SAY by doubling the promotion of the initiative.”

The bill is part of a comprehensive Senate school safety effort that includes Zorn’s bill to ensure law enforcement officers in Michigan have the training needed to effectively manage an active-shooter situation at a school.

Senate Bill 959 would require the Michigan Commission on Law Enforcement Standards (MCOLES) to develop statewide training standards for active-shooter situations in schools.

“Training and preparation can save lives,” Zorn said. “When it comes to protecting our schools, it is critical that students, school staff and law enforcement all know what to do to prevent a tragedy and how to respond if a situation occurs.”