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Office of School Safety December 2022 Newsletter

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Michigan K-12 Behavioral Threat Assessment and Management Training

The Michigan State Police Office of School Safety is hosting Michigan K-12 Behavioral Threat Assessment and Management (Mi-BTAM) training free of charge across the state for school-based threat assessment teams in K-12 public, charter, and private schools.  The goal of Mi-BTAM training is to identify, engage, and work collaboratively with families and students to mitigate life situational factors contributing to thoughts of violence and aggression.   School districts are encouraged to register their entire threat assessment team.

The Basic Training is a one-day workshop that covers topics such as understanding school violence and implications for prevention, steps for developing and operating an effective school threat assessment program, and developing and implementing case management plans.  The Advanced Training will help participants enhance their threat assessment and threat management skills by reviewing threat assessment procedures, screening initial reports, exploring how to conduct interviews, improving documentation, and developing intervention plans. 

Advanced Training for those participants that complete the Basic Training will begin in January 2023.  Basic Training will be held in the upper parts of the lower peninsula and the upper peninsula in the spring with Advanced Training following in the late spring.  Please visit the Office of School Safety website for more information.

Federal Grant Funding’s Grants Finder Tool helps you find applicable funding opportunities to help keep your school community safe.  The tool features a variety of Federally available school safety-specific grants that you can navigate based on school safety topic, award amount, application level of effort, and more. As Federal agencies release school safety funding opportunities and grants throughout the year, the tool will be updated on an ongoing basis to reflect these opportunities.

To get started, take the Grants Finder Tool Quiz to view a list of applicable grants based on your quiz selections.  Available grant results will appear as you answer each question.  Your results will narrow down as you proceed throughout the quiz to give you the most relevant grant opportunities for your school.

You can also explore all available grant opportunities in the grants library.  Filter grants based on your needs or use the quick filter links to view grants in frequently searched for categories.


Office of Community Oriented Policing Services Supporting Safe Schools 

The Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) is a component of the U.S. Department of Justice that provides support for advancing community policing for law enforcement agencies throughout the nation.  The COPS Office supports safe schools through resources and grants to help deploy school resource officers (SROs), including through free materials such as a Guiding Principles for School Resource Officer Programs publication.  The Office of School Safety encourages schools that employ or plan to employ an SRO and jurisdictions planning to implement SRO programs to utilize this free resource.  This publication can be downloaded or requested in print form here

Should Schools Monitor Social Media?

Monitoring social media for safety is a choice administrators must make, and the decision should be made with the feedback and input of the staff, parents, and students.  As with everything, there are considerations both good and bad that should be examined before using social media as a security device.  Consider the following data when thinking about social media.

  • In 2022, 95% of teens have access to a smartphone, a 22% increase from 2014-2015.[1]
  • As of 2022, the five most used social media sites among teens include YouTube (95%), TikTok (67%), Instagram (62%), Snapchat (59%), Facebook (32%), and Twitter (23%).[1]
  • Goals of social media monitoring include increasing awareness of students’ online activity, and better identifying and preventing potential instances of harm that may otherwise go unreported.[2]
  • Companies are marketing their social media monitoring services with claims that they can identify sexual content and drug and alcohol use; prevent mass violence, self-harm, and bullying; and/or flag students who may be struggling with academic or mental health issues and need help.[3]

This guide from the National Center for School Safety provides example practices, concerns, and methods for social media monitoring in a school setting.  Logistical considerations that one school encountered as they implemented a social media monitoring system is included at the end of the document.

Social Media Response guide

[1].  Vogels, E. A., Gelles-Watnick, R., & Massarat, N. (2022). Teens, Social Media and Technology, 2022. Pew Research Center.
[2].  Burke, C., & Bloss, C. (2020). Social Media Surveillance in Schools: Rethinking Public Health Interventions in the Digital Age. Journal of Medical Internet Research, 22(11). https://doi. org/10.2196/22612
[3]. Brennan Center for Justice, & Center for Democracy & Technology. (2019). Social Media Monitoring in K-12 Schools: Civil and Human Rights Concerns. Brennan Center for Justice.

OK2SAY Update

OK2SAY is expanding the team to include more presenters to provide free in-person and virtual school safety programming for students and schools across the state for students in grades 4–12.  To register for a presentation, go to

OK2SAY is an early warning system, not a determination of fact.  Schools are the lead for non-emergency response to tips.  Tips that indicate the need for immediate intervention are sent directly to law enforcement and the school for emergency response.  Sometimes a student will submit a tip to OK2SAY about an issue the school has previously addressed days, weeks, or even months prior.  Receiving tip information on a problem the school has already resolved may be frustrating for some school leaders.  We would like to remind schools that duplicate tips on the same incident signify a vibrant, healthy school community. 

OK2SAY presented at a national school safety tipline conference.  The event brought 70 professionals involving 18 states together to discuss key strategies for creating a tip line and optimizing its use.  The conference offered inspiring keynotes, expert panels, and deep-dive sessions led by an incredible line-up of national school safety leaders and practitioners. 

Social Media Challenges: Why Teens Take the Dare
Social media challenges often pop up out of nowhere, making it hard for school administrators to take preemptive action.  Social media appears to have exacerbated the spread of risk-taking behavior among students.  Schools may consider addressing these “challenges” as part of their digital citizenship curriculum.

Speaking about social media dares with students is crucial.  Although it may be tempting to write off the conduct as stupid, foolish, or careless, doing so can make students discount an adult’s viewpoint because “they just don't understand.”  Instead, encourage critical thinking in your students.  Ask:  Why do you think these practices are so common when they have the potential to be harmful?  Have you participated in any of these?  If not, why not?  What do you think happened to the students who engaged in these behaviors later on?

It is also critical to notify the parent/guardian of any challenges that impact the school. Keep the challenge factual but don't alarm them unnecessarily.  Encourage parents/guardians to check with their children to see if their friends are doing these things.  Asking a child what they are seeing and not what they are doing can help them feel less guarded.

It is also important to encourage students to take time away from their digital devices.

Surge in Hoax 911 Calls

As threats to schools continue to disrupt classes and prompt lockdowns, on September 26, 2022, the National Association of School Resource Officers (NASRO) and Safe and Sound Schools published guidance for school resource officers (SROs) and school administrators regarding the recent surge in swatting calls to schools. “Swatting” refers to a hoax call placed to 911 or a fake emergency that draws a response from law enforcement.  Even though these threats turn out to be a complete fabrication, the feeling of fear on the part of students, staff, parents, and communities is very real.  “These false alarms are far from harmless,” said NASRO executive director Mo Canady.  “They require high-speed responses with emergency lights and sirens that increase risks for responders and the public.  They also divert limited public safety resources from other community needs and increase anxiety among students and others.  These are some of the reasons that NASRO and Safe and Sound Schools decided it was important to provide guidance to SROs and school administrators.”  NASRO guidance covers topics including discussion of response protocols with all stakeholders.

School Resource Officer Grant Update

In the fiscal year 2023 budget the Michigan Legislature designated $25 million to fund the placement of school resource officers in the state’s K-12 public schools.  School districts were encouraged to apply for the funds working in tandem with their local law enforcement agencies.  More than 270 applications were received, totaling upwards of $45 million in requests.  Grant award announcements are anticipated by mid-January, 2023.


May 9-11, 2023

The 2023 Great Lakes Homeland Security Training Conference & Expo is slated for May 9-11, 2023, at the DeVos Place in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Once again, the conference will feature a school track.

2023 Great Lakes Homeland Security Training Conference and Expo

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