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Michigan School Safety Commission Minutes October 27, 2021

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The Michigan School Safety Commission meeting was held on Wednesday, October 27, 2021, via Microsoft Teams.  

The meeting was called to order at 2:00 p.m. by Lt. Colonel Kelenske. Roll call was taken by Mr. Guthaus.

The following commission members were present via Microsoft Teams: 

  • Lt. Col. Chris Kelenske, on behalf of the Michigan State Police (MSP)
  • Mr. David Knezek
  • Chief Ken Plaga
  • Ms. Justine Galbraith
  • Mr. Larry Johnson
  • Ms. Elizabeth Newell
  • Mr. Brian Gard
  • Mr. Rick Joseph
  • Ms. Alicia Urbain
  • Ms. Theresa Bassett


    Staff present via Microsoft Teams:

  • Ms. Nancy Becker Bennett
  • D/Lt. Scott Layman
  • Mr. Jason Guthaus
  • Ms. Logan O’Neal
  • Ms. Beth Beattie
  • Ms. Mary Drew
  • Mr. Jonathan Allen


    The following representative of a commission member was present via Microsoft Teams:

  • Ms. Aimee Alaniz, Michigan Department of Education, on behalf of Mr. Kyle Guerrant

Approval of July 28, 2021, Meeting Minutes

Mr. Johnson motioned to approve the meeting minutes.  The motion was supported by Chief Plaga and all were in favor.  The meeting minutes were approved as presented.

Approval of Agenda

Chief Plaga motioned to approve the meeting agenda.  The motion was supported by Mr. Gard and all were in favor.  The agenda was approved as presented.

Old Business

A. Incident Report - Ms. Becker Bennett

Due to confidentially of the information included in the incident report, the report was not sent electronically to members.  Ms. Becker Bennett gave a quick overview of the 3rd quarter report. 

Members were asked to contact her directly with questions or to request specific information.  

Ms. Becker Bennett stated that 17 intermediate school districts and 32 schools submitted incident reports; 86% of schools submitted the incident report within 24 hours.  Schools reported 58 incidents involving possession of controlled substances or alcohol, 17 larcenies, 6 other crimes, 22 physical assaults or other incidents involving physical violence, and 4 incidents of vandalism.  A total estimated cost of $2,160 was required to repair the property damage caused by vandalism.  In regard to incidents involving the attempted commission of a crime, there was one arson, one possession of a controlled substance or alcohol, six physical assaults, and one other crime. 

Mr. Gard asked if there were any year-to-year trends that could be observed from the data.  Ms. Becker Bennett stated that the most frequently reported incident is typically possession of a controlled substance. There has been an insufficient number of incident reports to identify any trends with great confidence. 

Lt. Colonel Kelenske and Ms. Becker Bennett were interviewed on Monday, October 25, by WDIV about school incident reporting.  The small number of schools that submitted reports was discussed, along with reasons why schools may not be reporting incidents.  Lt. Colonel Kelenske provided the Michigan Incident Crime Reporting (MICR) data for K-12 schools to WDIV.  This data included index crimes reported to law enforcement that occurred at schools.  The index crime rates trended downward, but it is unknown if the data is a reliable gauge due to the impact of COVID-19.  Lt. Colonel Kelenske stated the data is publicly available and he would try to share it with members later.

Currently, it is not possible to compare incident reporting data to MICR data.  Law enforcement should be involved when a crime against a person is committed.  While not all incidents are criminalized, law enforcement should be part of the discussion along with mental health professionals, counselors, administrators, and teachers.  Major incidents are usually preceded by minor incidents and early intervention could prevent a more significant incident.  Ms. Newell stated that working together behind the scenes to provide support to families and meet needs was key.

B. Office of School Safety Updates - Mr. Guthaus

The first School Safety Steering Committee meeting was held last week and just under 200 people attended virtually.  The first hour was a plenary session with a briefing on crime and drug trends and a speaker from the I Love U Guys Foundation.  The meeting was well received and the Office of School Safety will continue to keep members informed about future meetings.  

The Office of School Safety is continuing to work to achieve the Final Recommendations of the School Safety Task Force, November 2018.

New Business

A. OK2SAY Update - D/Lieutenant Layman

Year to date, OK2SAY tips are down 59% compared to 2020; however, September had a 34% increase compared to September 2020.  So far, October has also shown an increase compared to October 2020.  Mental health and planned school attack tips have both increased.  OK2SAY received

16 planned school attack tips last week.  Of the tips, 13 involved a Snapchat post that threatened a “Central High School.”  OK2SAY technicians were able to determine the threat was for a high school in Missouri and referred the information.  The top three OK2SAY tip categories so far this year are other (anxiety, depression, harassment, etc.), suicide, and bullying.  Last year, the top tip categories were suicide, drugs, and other.

OK2SAY is providing both in-person and virtual presentations to middle schools.  A large mailing of OK2SAY promotional materials was just completed to about 4,000 schools.  OK2SAY has a contract with the Michigan High School Athletic Association to promote OK2SAY at athletic events and is working to market the program through social media.  The Michigan Intelligence Operations Center OK2SAY is currently down two technicians and those positions have been posted for applicants. 

Ms. Newell asked about funding for presentations and promotional material.  Ms. Becker Bennett advised funding is available this year but will need to be replenished for future years.  Lt. Colonel Kelenske stated that while everything is being done to secure funding, OK2SAY may need to look at other ways to educate students about the program. 

B. Office of School Safety Projects - Mr. Guthaus

The Office of School Safety is looking to achieve the School Safety Task Force recommendation regarding the standardization of language by working with the I Love U Guys Foundation to adopt their Standardized Response Protocol.  The Standardized Response Protocol uses simple language supported by graphics and the foundation performs trainings on the material.  The I Love U Guys material does not include methods on confronting an intruder, so should not interfere with other training programs. 

The Office of School Safety is working to standardize threat assessment by providing best practice guidance that uses the Virginia threat assessment model.  The Virginia model has been accepted as the standard nationwide and there are organizations that work with states to draft language and provide training to schools.  The Office of School Safety is exploring working with one of these organizations to ensure the material provided to schools is solid and data-driven. 

Proposed dates for future meetings are currently being analyzed by administrative assistants to ensure there are no conflicts and will be sent out once they are confirmed.

Round Table

Lt. Col. Kelenske opened up the meeting for round table discussion.  No members commented.

Public Comment

No public comment.


Ms. Urbain motioned to adjourn the meeting.  The motion was supported by Mr. Johnson.  The motion was approved by all.  The meeting was adjourned at 2:42 p.m.