Michigan State Police Issues Guidance on New School Safety Laws


May 20th, 2019

In December 2018, Governor Snyder signed legislation aimed at making Michigan’s schools safer. Several of the new and amended laws, which went into effect at the end of March 2019, require schools to work with or report specific information to the Michigan State Police (MSP), its Office of School Safety (OSS), or the newly established School Safety Commission (SSC). MSP recently issued guidance to help school officials understand how to implement these new requirements. The guidance is available at:

www.michigan.gov/msp/0,4643,7-123-72297_34040_92063—,00.html

School Safety Commission and Office of School Safety Liaison

Under Revised School Code Section 1241, a school board must designate a liaison to work with the SSC and the OSS to identify model practices for school safety measures. The liaison must either be employed by the school or regularly and continuously work under con­tract with the school. Section 1241 does not require schools to notify the SSC or the OSS of the designated liaison, and MSP guidance specifically says no such notification to the OSS is required.

School boards should carefully select the liaison and consider choosing a person who has significant ex­perience with your school’s safety measures so that the person can assist the SSC and the OSS in identifying model practices.

Incident Reports to Office of School Safety

Revised School Code Section 1308a requires school officials to report to MSP incidents or attempted inci­dents involving a crime identified in Revised School Code Section 1310a(2) (“crimes involving physical vio­lence, gang-related activity, illegal possession of a con­trolled substance or controlled substance analogue, or other intoxicant, trespassing, and property crimes in­cluding, but not limited to, theft and vandalism.”). A re­port must be made to MSP within 24 hours of the incident’s occurrence. Failure to properly report these crimes could disqualify a school from receiving MSP school safety grants for the year.

MSP created an online form for school officials to report these crimes. The form is available at:

survey.vovici.com/se/6CAB81316491E30E

The form clarifies that the report is “used for statistical tracking and the database is not monitored 24/7.” The form also reminds school officials to call 911 if the incident is an emergency and to follow school policies about reporting incidents to law enforcement.

The new reporting mandate does not require school officials to report every incident of student or staff misconduct to MSP. Rather, school officials must report “crimes” or “attempted crimes” that occur at school. When determining whether an incident is a “crime,” schools officials should consider whether local law enforcement was involved with the incident and whether anyone was charged with a crime. MSP has created an email address for school officials to contact MSP with questions:

MSP-SchoolSafety@michigan.gov

Remember, Revised School Code Section 1308 requires crimes listed in the Statewide School Safety In­formation Policy to be reported to state or local law en­forcement and the county prosecutor. Many of those crimes overlap with crimes that must be reported to MSP under Section 1308a.

Providing Emergency Contact Information to OK-2-SAY

The Student Safety Act, which created the OK-2-SAY hotline, now requires schools to provide to MSP the “current emergency contact information” of at least one school official to ensure timely receipt of a report or other information submitted to OK-2-SAY. Schools can provide contact information for more than one school official to alleviate the burden of being “on-call” after hours, but must denote the days and times each respec­tive school official is available to receive information.

MSP’s guidance states that school officials should provide this contact information through OK-2-SAY’s website, and provides a link to the appropriate form:

www.michigan.gov/ok2say/0,5413,7-366-86420_86445-377661–,00.html

MSP’s guidance helps navigate the practical effects of these new laws. School boards should carefully re­view the new requirements and consider who to desig­nate as a school liaison to the SSC and the OSS; who will be responsible for ensuring crimes and attempted crimes occurring at school are properly reported to MSP; and who will receive reports from OK-2-SAY, including after school hours.