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House Education Committee holds school safety hearing on the road

A large, empty classroom.
Creative Commons
A large, empty classroom.

The Michigan House Education Committee met on the road Monday evening to discuss school safety.

At the meeting at Sterling Heights High School, the committee heard from school mental health worker groups about needs and staffing shortages.

Committee Chair Rep. Matt Koleszar (D-Plymouth) said it’s important for lawmakers to be accessible to stakeholders.

“I really want committee members to get a glimpse from those who experience this shortage every day. And not just to hear about their experience, but also potentially some ideas they may have. This is great feedback for the committee to get when we’re moving forward,” Koleszar said.

The meeting was billed as the committee’s first school-safety hearing of the year. Bipartisan school safety legislation, however, was not on the agenda.

Koleszar said the bills aren’t ready yet. But stakeholders have spent over a year working on those them in the background.

“I think we’re nearing to where you’re going to start to see some of these bills come up in committee. But it was important for them to get their work completed because we’re talking about children’s lives,” Koleszar said.

The bill package was introduced over a year ago, shortly after a deadly shooting at Michigan State University.

Legislative Republicans have accused Democratic House leadership of slow-walking the package.

Representative Jaime Greene (R-Richmond), the minority vice chair on the House Education Committee, said it’s time for the bills to get a hearing regardless.

She said she and some of the other Republican cosponsors, many of whom are in their first term in the House of the package have been kept out of the loop.

“The rest of the freshmen have not been brought up to speed,” Greene said.

The package is a continuation of work stretching back to last legislative session and the House School Safety Task Force that formed after a deadly shooting at Oxford High School in 2021.

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Colin Jackson is the Capitol reporter for the Michigan Public Radio Network.
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