Michigan House Republicans
As school safety plan stalls, Democrat leadership turns back on school safety officers
RELEASE|February 29, 2024
Contact: Mike Harris

Speaker of the House sends appreciation resolution to committee

House Democrats on Thursday refused to allow a vote on Rep. Mike Harris’ measure honoring the work of school resource officers (SROs), who keep students safe at school.

Instead, the speaker sent House Resolution 198, which designated February as School Resource Officer Appreciation Month, to the Government Operations Committee, where bills are often sent to die. Normally, the House adopts uncontroversial commemorative resolutions immediately, without sending them to committee.

The rejection of the resolution comes as Harris, a former school resource officer, has called for the House Education Committee to hold hearings on a bipartisan school safety and student mental health plan, which was introduced more than a year ago but has not received a single committee hearing. The plan resulted from thorough work by a bipartisan task force House Republicans established after the 2021 Oxford High School shooting. The plan would establish dedicated staff for school safety and mental health at every school district, implement regular review of each school’s safety plan, ensure tips submitted through the OK2SAY system are promptly directed to the proper authorities, standardize training and communication for responding to school emergencies, and more.

“Honoring school resource officers for their tireless work to protect our students at school shouldn’t be a hard decision, but Democrat leaders dismissed my resolution recognizing SROs to die in committee,” said Harris, R-Waterford. “At the same time, officers and the students they protect can’t get the substantive support they deserve from their state government. After more than a year, the House Education Committee still hasn’t held a hearing on our bipartisan school safety and mental health plan. Expressing our appreciation for SROs is the very least we can do, but Democrats refused.”

Democrats last year removed dedicated funding for school resource officers out of the state budget. They also attempted to defund the School Safety and Mental Health Commission that Republicans created in 2022 to coordinate safety efforts statewide, and the governor again proposed defunding the commission in her most recent budget proposal. One of the bills in the bipartisan school safety package would make the safety commission permanent.

Harris highlighted the crucial role that school resource officers perform, building relationships with the students and staff they protect.

“My time as a school resource officer was one of the most rewarding assignments during my 26-year law enforcement career,” Harris said. “SROs serve as a link between law enforcement and the education community. They build relationships with those they serve, so when young people, parents, and teachers have a concern, they turn to the officer they know and trust. As educators teach and kids learn, they know that the school resource officer they see every day has their backs.”

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