Making schools safer ahead of new school year | #schoolsaftey

IRON MOUNTAIN, Mich. (WLUC) – Schools across upper Michigan have been upgrading security systems this summer.

Last year, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced school safety grant awards for 150 school districts totaling $10 million in state funding. Iron Mountain Public Schools was among the highest awards with $250,000.

“The primary focus of the grant was exterior doorways, such as fire door exits and our main entrance door for both Central middle school and the Izzo-Mariucci Center,” said Benjamin Reath, Iron Mountain Public Schools director of non-instructional services.

As schools try to work within budgets, grant money like this helps districts with additional improvements.

“There isn’t always enough room in the budget to address all of the needed maintenance throughout the buildings and so, supplementary grants like this help us address those,” Reath added.

Breitung Township Schools was also awarded grant money to improve school safety. The district received three different grants to replace doors and card readers, add additional security cameras and get two school resource officers.

“It certainly gives us a sense of security to improve the physical safety but a key point is also the training. We extensively train and plan with our staff. We’ve actually implemented a school safety coordinator position. That’s one of our technology folks because so much of school safety is related to technology,” said David Holmes, Breitung Township Schools superintendent.

Holmes also says the grants were more competitive but now are based more on enrollment.

“At one point the school safety grants were competitive and it was difficult to justify the competitive nature of a grant when all schools and all children should be safe, and they’ve done a better job this year of making those less competitive and more based on per-pupil funding,” Holmes said.

The first day of school for Iron Mountain is Aug. 30, for Breitung Township Schools it’s Aug. 28.

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