The Michigan House of Representatives today unanimously approved state Rep. Scott VanSingel’s plan allowing schools to provide additional safety measures to better protect children and faculty in the event of an emergency.
Under VanSingel’s proposal, schools would be allowed to seek permission from the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs to install temporary locking barricades that meet certain safety standards on classroom and hallway doors. VanSingel said the act outlining national standards for school construction and fire safety is currently silent in regard to the installation of these safety devices, adding it is potentially turning some Michigan school districts away from upping security at their schools.
“While this is a conversation nobody wants to have, it’s important we are being proactive as a state as school shootings are becoming more prevalent,” said VanSingel, of Grant. “We need to make sure we are exploring additional safety measures to further protect our children at school in the event of an emergency. No school district in Michigan should be deterred from seeking additional, inexpensive ways to keep students and faculty out of harm’s way.”
The legislation would also require school administrators to notify local law enforcement and fire departments before installing such devices and provide in-service training to staff members working in a building with temporary locking barricades.
“This is a small, but necessary step in the right direction to ensure there are no restrictions in law acting as barriers that prevent schools from pursuing additional security on their premises,” VanSingel said.
House Bill 4689 now advances to the Senate for consideration.
“Michigan legislators have sought to work with the governor to provide a comprehensive COVID response for the people of Michigan since the beginning of the health crisis,” VanSingel said. “Constituents across Michigan deserve to have their voices heard by way of the Legislature. I’m happy they are finally being given that chance.”
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