Sen. Shirkey supports school safety budget increase

LANSING, Mich. — State Sen. Mike Shirkey voted Thursday to support an additional $18.6 million dedicated to school safety initiatives in Michigan schools.

“Until we can effectively address the mental disorders or warped ideologies that cause these incidents, we should take proactive measures to protect our children and to secure our schools,” said Shirkey, R-Clarklake.

Senate Bill 601 includes $15 million for security grants available to both individual schools and school districts. The funding structure encourages local matches to boost funding even more.

Additionally, $650,000 will go toward further integrating the OK2SAY reporting tool into school safety programs and an additional $3 million will go toward building a school safety communication application to better coordinate on-site staff and first responders.

“This funding is a great step toward making our schools a safer, more enjoyable place to learn,” Shirkey said. “Safety upgrades will apply to many different types of emergencies, so this is a valuable investment in our school infrastructure all around. We should continue to be vigilant for potential threats and not feel embarrassed to speak up about concerns. The safety of our children is a duty we all share.”

Shirkey encouraged parents to research OK2SAY and to talk with their children about family safety plans and what to do in case of an emergency, both at school and at home.

The bill will now go to the House of Representatives for consideration.