State grant will bolster student safety

As part of the Michigan State Police Competitive School Safety Program, Thornapple Kellogg Schools received a $135,045 grant to improve security measures at all buildings in the district.

The grant will be used for additional lockdown lights and warning lights at each building, an additional keycard entry door at the high school, exterior door signage and a protective glass film in high traffic entry areas of the buildings.

The district will have until June 2020 to complete projects funded by the grant. Though the official timeline for projects is not finalized, it is hoped that most of the work is completed this summer, assistant superintendent Craig McCarthy said.

“This grant allows us to work on the project through May of 2020, however, the best time to do these types of projects is in the summer months,” he said.

High school and middle school projects total nearly $50,000; Page Elementary projects will take about $28,000; Lee Elementary will take $3,600 and McFall will need $5,400. The learning center, which houses preschool classes, will also get the exterior door signage at a cost of about $825.

“We, at Thornapple Kellogg Schools, are extremely happy that we have been awarded a security grant,” McCarthy said. “One of our top priorities is providing a safe and secure learning environment for all students and staff. This award will help us more fully achieve that goal.”

In addition to a detailed safety plan, Thornapple Kellogg also has two full-time resource officers. Tony Stein and Jeff Niewenhuis, who are retired from the Barry County Sheriff’s Department

The Michigan State Police program awarded $25 million in grants to schools and intermediate districts across the state, including public schools, charter schools and private schools. 135 public school districts, 66 non-public schools, 20 public charter schools and nine intermediate school districts/regional educational service agencies received grants.

“The safety of all our students and staff every day is a top priority,” said Superintendent Rob Blitchok. “With these funds from the Michigan State Police Grant we will be able to add extra levels of safety for all of our buildings. This is not a matching grant, so these measures are not costing the district any funds.”

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Student safety comes first in Michigan State Police security grant

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A 2017 graduate of Grand Valley State University and a lifelong teacher’s kid, Hannah Lentz has worked as a journalist in and outside the Grand Rapids area for more than five years. After serving as editor-in-chief at the GVSU student newspaper, Hannah interned at the Leelanau Enterprise where she learned a lot about community journalism. In addition to her work for School News Network, Hannah has worked as a freelance blogger in the furniture industry, focusing on design trends, and as a social media manager for World Medical Relief in Detroit. Read Hannah's full bio.

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