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School Safety Academy Explores Framework for Comprehensive Planning

A gas leak, severe weather, an active shooter, or student mental health crisis. In our schools, each scenario has the potential to be destructive. Each brings its own challenges.

The Michigan School Safety Academy, organized and hosted by the Michigan State Police (MSP) Office of School Safety (OSS), is designed to give those working in the school safety arena a roadmap to improving safety in their schools.

“School safety is not one thing, but many important pieces coming together to create a culture of safety within the educational environment,” said Kim Root, manager of the Office of School Safety within the Grants and Community Services Division of MSP. “We’re hopeful that those who attend the academy have a greater understanding of what it takes to build that culture within their schools.”

The Michigan School Safety Academy is a two-day learning experience featuring subject matter experts on topics ranging from childhood trauma to digital threat assessment and the development of an incident command structure. Six academies were funded through a State of Michigan fiscal year 2023 appropriation to the School Safety and Mental Health Commission.

Michael Taylor, Redford Union High School Principal, attended a recent academy hosted in Livonia. “Complacency will get people hurt, or worse,” he said. “Having safety procedures in place doesn’t mean a thing if you don’t have buy-in from your staff, students, and community. Safety must be a priority – always. Without a safe school environment, you cannot effectively teach children.”

Taylor, who also serves as his district’s security coordinator, has already shared with his staff information he gleaned from the academy, including warning signs among students and the importance of an incident command center and reunification process.

“We never know what is coming next or when,” he said.

“The act of planning allows those working in schools to consider options and then develop them, which can help improve outcomes. The academies provide practical, actionable information that may save lives,” added Root.

Registration is open for three remaining sessions.