East Lansing community cries out for safer schools

EAST LANSING, Mich. (WILX) – A concerned community gathered Friday at the East Lansing Hannah Community Center to voice their frustrations over safety issues at East Lansing High School.

“I want to see more consequences being held for people’s actions, so nothing like this ever happens again,” said Elaina Andrews, East Lansing High School student.

Students said they don’t feel safe, as fights break out. They said it’s been a problem for months, but the tipping point was when a gun fell out of a student’s backpack last week.

It sparked a walk-out by students on Thursday, canceled classes Friday, and a call by many parents for more action by the school board.

There was only a standing room at the Hannah Community Center, and with so many concerned citizens, the meeting had to be relocated to the auditorium.

“It’s impressive that there are these many people here,” said an East Lansing Parent.

The discussion was moderated by an expert from MSU, who said her own children attend East Lansing Public Schools. Questions to the room, led to small group discussions, followed by a chance to share with all.

“We have had no active shooter training,” said an East Lansing teacher. “And I’ve said that a thousand times, we need training in our school.”

One student said these issues have only been brought to light through student advocacy and the breaking point was a gun found on school property.

“If I am going to get suspended for leaving school during an unsafe time, these students should get suspended for bringing a gun to school,” said an East Lansing student.

There were calls for more severe consequences, and requests for additional mental health resources.

“They (teachers) try their best, but they cannot like stop the fights from breaking out, these fights happen over and over again,” said another East Lansing student.

Alumni and teachers recalled a time when resource officers roamed the halls, and requested their reinstatement.

“We need security guards,” said an East Lansing teacher. “We have so many points of entry to that school, and we can’t manage them all.”

A complicated issue with complicated solutions. We’re told Friday’s meeting is just the starting point for getting community feedback. A list of possible solutions was collected for future consideration.

“We could have students select and monitor our security at our schools if we do end up agreeing to have a resource officer at our school,” said another East Lansing student.

A wide array of emotions and ideas, all focused on the safety of East Lansing Public Schools. Friday was a listening session. On Monday, the East Lansing High School Board will host a special meeting on the matter. It starts at 7 p.m. at the East Lansing High School Auditorium.

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