A construction crew works on DeWitt High School’s new main entrance. With safety in mind, the project is designed to give the new main office a better ability to assess visitors. Photo by David Reinke. DeWitt High School Principal Jody McKean. Photo by David Reinke.
While active shooter classes are ongoing at DeWitt High School, the idea of a full-scale active shooter drill has been met with mixed reviews from parents, law enforcement and school officials. According to DeWitt Township Chief of Police Brian Russell, law enforcement and the school have been having ongoing conversations about school safety, but the idea of an active shooter drill has yet to come up. “I think they should train for the real world,” said Russell. “You learn things by repetition, I think it would be a good thing for them, but if something really happened, I think they’d at least be more prepared for it. I just think it’s a good thing for life, period, it’s good training.
by Laina Stebbins
Bath-DeWitt Connection Staff Reporter
DEWITT — At a time in American society when gun violence has become familiar news and mass shootings dominate the media circuit, many communities across the United States have changed their gun safety policies to better respond to a possible threat. In DeWitt, it’s mean no guns in schools. In the Administrative Guidelines for DeWitt Public Schools, it is stated that “The Board of Education prohibits professional staff members from possessing, storing, making, or using a weapon in any setting that is under the control and supervision of the District for the purpose of school activities approved and authorized by the District.”
Adopted by the Board in February, this policy provides just a few exceptions for this ban, including weapons under the control of law enforcement. Bruce Ferguson, police chief for the City of DeWitt, sees a need for these gun-free zones. Even more so, Ferguson sees a need for preventative measures and education to stop violence before it starts.
While studies still support the idea that a child is safer in school than they are in a car, the rising rate of acts of violence in school still raises red flags for some. Acts of school violence can occur anywhere and can have many different causes, making them difficult to track and study. So what can schools do to stay safe? For the Holt School District, most doors are locked with security cameras. The school resource officer, Mary Hull, a local deputy, is on-call for the district’s eleven different buildings.
By ELIZABETH FERGUSON
Capital News Service
LANSING — State officials are enthusiastic about the progress of a new school safety program that encourages students to anonymously report threatening activity. “In the first year we were wondering how it would go, and I will say I think it’s been overwhelmingly successful,” said Col. Kriste Kibbey Etue, director of the Michigan State Police. Under the OK2SAY program, students can submit tips by text, email or phone app. The program also keeps tips completely confidential by law.
By SHEILA SCHIMPF
CAPITAL NEWS SERVICE
LANSING – A bill that would establish a 24-hour hotline for confidential reports of crimes and threats in schools won Senate approval in June, got funding approved by Gov. Rick Snyder in July, and needs only House approval and the governor’s final signature. The Student Safety Act, based on a successful program in Colorado, is in the House Appropriations Committee, said Ari Adler, communications director for Speaker Jase Bolger, R-Marshall. “It’s being reviewed,” Adler said. “I don’t know what the timeline is. There are other ways to report that information now.”
Because those other ways exist, Adler said, the bill isn’t considered urgent.