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Along that line is proposed House Bill 5661, which stalled in the 2016 legislative session, to revise school reporting requirements from mandating districts report all crime statistics and bullying incidents to the state annually, instead having superintendents' post them on their district's website for five years.
State Rep. Mike McCready (R-Birmingham, Bloomfield Hills, Bloomfield Township) was not a fan of the proposed bill, and noted the bill's sponsor, Amanda Price (R-Grand Haven) is term-limited, and will not be returning to the state House in January. State Rep. Michael Webber (R-Rochester, Rochester Hills) said the proposed bill "would do away with a lot of duplicative reports, which overall our superintendents and school boards say to us we do have so many reports. Maybe it would make it more accessible to parents and the public, if it were on the (school's) website, but not all rural districts have great websites. It's an interesting push-pull."
McCready said he felt a bill he sponsored and which was passed and signed into law in November, House Bill 4388, now Public Act 319, to expand the use of sinking funds for capital improvements, including security upgrades, is a much more positive step for schools, and one that superintendents are happy about, and "homeowners will be happy about because it will save them money because they will not be paying interest and legal fees on bonds. I'm happy for the schools, but more importantly I'm happy for the families who use our schools because they focus on technological improvements. The schools can better provide security for the staff and students."
The goal in the existing state legislation of providing transparency has been achieved through the reporting of the crime statistics, for those who seek the statistics. Many school districts, especially in Oakland County, have created alliances and cooperative working relationships with local law enforcement. Many local police departments have police liaisons working with their school districts, fostering greater communication and collaboration between the two.
Many local officials state having seen certain offenses, such as bullying, decline quite a bit in schools, but others, such as sexting, are sky-high. Captain Michael Johnson of the Oakland County Sheriff's Department Rochester substation, noted, "Sexting is really a problem. They don't get it until something bad happens to them. When you spread it, it's spreading pornography. We have charged some, and they're just shocked."...continued on page 4