Page 10 - Volume 28 Number 2
P. 10

 With schools across Michigan seeing a hike in “terrorism” threats from students in middle schools and high schools, President Trump encouraged legislation to arm
teachers with guns to defend themselves and their students — and some state legislators are working on bills to do just that.
In the two weeks following the Feb. 14 mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, there were at least 19 threats at schools across the state of Michigan, according to a Feb. 27 Detroit Free Press article.
Within days of the Florida tragedy, a South Lyon High School student, was arraigned on felony charges for making a false terror- ist threat over an online exchange about shooting up South Lyon High School. The threat was made while the schools were closed for mid-winter break and no firearms were found in the student’s possession. He was arrested after another student told police that the suspect sent him a Snapchat message asking whether he want- ed to re-enact the Florida shooting. He is being held on a $10 million bond while he awaits trial.
Threats made involving Michigan schools in the weeks following the Florida mass shooting resulted in lockdowns, school closings, and/or felony charges brought against students. However, the fol- lowing threats did not result in any injuries to staff or students:
• Two Novi Middle School students were charged with making a
terrorist threat after classmates overheard them. One student
reported the threat to their father who reported it to police.
• Wayne-Westland Community Schools canceled all classes in the
district Feb. 27 while several threats made over social media the
day prior were being investigated.
• At Garden City High School, a picture shared on Snapchat showed
a bullet in a school hallway resulting in the campus being locked
  down. Michigan State Police troopers swept the building and no
weapon was found.
• A Walled Lake Central High School student allegedly threatened
another student on Snapchat March 1 and was suspended in- definitely. The case is being handled by Oakland County Prosecu- tor’s office, according to the district. The next day, a student at Walled Lake Northern High School allegedly issued a non-specif- ic threat via Instagram and was also suspended indefinitely. Other threats were reported in Milan, St. Clair Shores, Monroe,
Marine City, Otsego, Gobles, Lawrence and Flint-area schools. Sev- eral more were made in Kent County and Grand Rapids. Authorities must take them all seriously, even if they are likely pranks, given the recent history of mass shootings nationwide in schools, colleges, churches and other public venues. In the week following the Parkland shootings, Kent County Prosecutor Chris Becker’s office charged three people with terrorism and was investigating 10 other incidents, an unrivaled number in that county. Becker said the public should understand the severity of making a “terrorism” threat, which is considered a felony punishable up to 20 years.
While the public debates the best ways to prevent and deal with mass shootings including: gun control, assigning Police Officers to schools, improving the mental health system, and arming teachers, new school safety legislation is being proposed. Two Republicans in the Michigan House of Representatives are working on bills to arm teachers they hope to introduce this spring and have them con- sidered before the Legislature breaks for the summer in June. State Rep. Jim Runestad, R-White Lake, will schedule hearings this spring on a bill he is drafting to allow school districts to provide access to guns in locked, undisclosed locations in school buildings to teachers who volunteer and are trained in firearm use. The teachers would have to complete 80 hours of training on how to shoot a gun, gun safety, how to engage with an active shooter and tactics to de-es- calate a dangerous situation. The guns would be hidden in locked compartments that would only be accessible through the thumbprint of approved school employees.
Rep. Gary Glenn, R-Williams Township, is working on two other bills allowing guns in schools: One would let local school districts make the decision to permit employees with concealed carry weap- ons (CCW) permits and extra training to carry guns in schools. The other bill would call for a state mandate that school employees with CCWs be allowed to bring their guns to schools. Both bills would require monthly training for teachers who decide to carry their weap- ons at work.
However, some schools and Democratic lawmakers oppose arm- ing teachers. “The only person who should be in a school with a
The Police Officers Journal
Michigan lawmakers developing bi
— Excerpted from Detroit Free Press, WJBK and media reports
  10 • SPRING 2018

   8   9   10   11   12