Michigan House Republicans
After hearing on student mental health services, Rep. Harris calls for action on school safety plan
RELEASE|March 12, 2024
Contact: Mike Harris

State Rep. Mike Harris again called for the House Education Committee to take action on a bipartisan school safety and mental health plan after he attended the committee’s Monday evening meeting in Metro Detroit on the topic of school mental health services.

Harris, R-Waterford, said the Sterling Heights hearing showed the importance of student mental health and the need for the legislation resulting from a task force House Republicans created in the wake of the Oxford High School shooting. Harris, a former school resource officer, provided input when the task force drafted legislation in 2022 and introduced the bills with his colleagues in February 2023. The House Education Committee has yet to hold a hearing on the bills, which would better coordinate and maintain school safety protocols and student mental health programs.

“This hearing demonstrates the need for better state support of safety and mental health work in our schools,” Harris said. “School mental health professionals give students crucial support and help address the root causes of school safety, and I am grateful to the experts who testified and shared their valuable perspective. Next, the Education Committee should take up the bipartisan school safety and mental health plan, which still hasn’t received a hearing more than a year after my colleagues and I introduced it. Our plan would better coordinate school safety and mental health and provide students, teachers, counselors, school resource officers, and other school staff the tools and support they need to foster a safe and healthy learning environment in our classrooms.”

House Bills 4088-4100, the school safety and mental health package, are designed to organize a unified approach to school safety and student mental health through enhanced communication, training, personnel, and more. The plan addresses specific problems identified by the bipartisan task force. It establishes dedicated staff for school safety and mental health at every school district, implements regular review of each school’s safety plan, ensures tips submitted through the OK2SAY system are directed to the proper authorities, standardizes training and communication for responding to school emergencies, and more.

The plan would also permanently establish the School Safety and Mental Health Commission to coordinate school safety efforts and mental health services throughout the state. Republicans created the commission in 2022 in the annual budget, but the governor has repeatedly attempted to defund and eliminate it.

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