Muskegon Heights School Board Revives Middle School Security Discussion

Andrew Trzaska | November 23, 2010

Monday night’s Muskegon Heights School Board meeting included a discussion between board members and middle school principal Bernard Colton about the state of security in the district’s buildings.

During the board report segment of the meeting, board trustee Kassandra Kitchen asked the board about the status of adding a second security staffer at the middle school, a request made by a concerned parent and echoed by board members at a meeting one month ago.  Superintendent Dana Bryant stated that no one has been found yet.  “We are trying to get the deficit elimination plan done, and then we will make staffing decisions”.

Colton spoke to the board as part of the discussion, stating what things his school has done in the interim until a staff solution is found.  He stated that aides in the building are have increased their presence at lunches, and that various coaches have volunteered some of their time to monitor parts of the building in their available time.

When asked by trustee Ronald Jenkins about the involvement of PTA members, Colton explained some of the issues that have come up so far.  He said he started with three parents, and even though new ones signed up, some of them quickly dropped as well. Plus, some paperwork for some parent volunteers did not clear HR’s review.

The revived discussion concerning middle school security comes in the wake of an incident that occurred a few weeks ago, where a student who had been part of a fight off campus the night before brought a weapon to school.  The student immediately had second thoughts upon arrival at school, and brought his concerns to Colton.  When the situation was diffused, the student tried to hide the weapon and remove it later to avoid further trouble, but it was discovered by the school’s security.

“The student brought a problem from home to school with him,” said Colton. “One good thing is he came to [me and other staff]. We’re glad for that.”

This announcement also comes on the heels of a new busing initiative announced at the board’s meeting two weeks ago, where all MHPS students now have the option to go inside their closest elementary school and meet their bus, or continue to use their traditional stops.  The addition to the current bus plan comes in reaction to the coming winter weather and two recent abduction attempts of elementary-age students in Muskegon.

Andrew Trzaska

103.7 “The Beat” – local government beat reporter and political analyst