Saline Board of Education Reacts to Murder at Michigan State University
As the nation reacts to the killing of three students at Michigan State University, Saline Board of Education officials weighed in on issues of gun control and mental health at Tuesday's board meeting.
Anthony McRae, a 43-year-old man whose mental health reportedly deteriorated after the death of his mother, allegedly shot and killed Arielle Anderson, Brian Fraser and Alexandria Vernor. Five other students were also shot and treated at the hospital for injuries. After an hours-long manhunt, police found McRaue, who allegedly shot himself in front of police.
The night's events rattled many Saline parents and students.
Trustee Jenny Miller recounted the experiences of Sandy Hook, Parkland, and Oxford. She said she spent Monday night on the couch with her daughter, who was terrified because she hadn't heard from her friends at the school. Miller turned her attention Gov. Whitmer's call for stronger gun control.
"Tonight, I would like to ask the board to revisit the conversation we had in September when the Moms Demand Action group was here. I know that a resolution from our board is maybe just words, but I do think it can bring awareness and share our commitment to keeping our kids safe," Miller said.
Miller urged people to take advantage of opportunities to make people safer.
"If your home has weapons and you cannot afford to secure them, the Saline Police Department will offer you, free of charge, safe ways to secure your weapons," Miller said.
Board President Michael McVey said he was quite certain the board could revisit the resolution.
Trustee Brad Gerbe said he "absolutely despised" that he was once again discussing the need for sensible actions on guns in schools. Gerbe, a teacher in Manchester, said it feels like a failure that he can't answer questions from students who want to know why anyone would commit such crimes. Gerbe said he was thankful for the measures Saline has taken to make buildings safer, including training of staff.
Gerbe said he wanted Saline Schools to be an absolute sanctuary for students and staff - a place where they know they are safe. Gerbe echoed Miller's call to revisit the Moms Demand Action resolution.
"I am begging our legislature, our government, our elected officials, people in our district and communities - help us do something about this as it pertains to guns, mental health and our schools," Gerbe said. "We have to do something."
Trustee Tim Austin's daughter is at Michigan State University. She was talking to her mom on the phone while walking through campus when the shooting began and she received an alert. Austin's daughter made way to her dorm and she barricaded herself in.
"It was terrifying for her. It's something kids should never have to deal with," Austin said.
However, Austin cautioned against reacting with calls for gun control.
"We have a mental health issue in America. In our young kids. We have a society that disregards life. When you couple those things together, you're going to have a mess," Austin said. "We can blame it on the guns, but at the end of the day, it's the person using the gun.
Trustee Susan Estep expressed support for a resolution and proactive measures on gun safety in the school district.
At the outset of the meeting, the board held a moment of silence to consider the loss at MSU.
David Raft held a parents mental health seminar a couple of years ago and over 250 people attended. The School District has done nothing similar since. Maybe the Board can do something about education of our young people and the community about this topic. That is within their control and scope of responsibility, and is a ACTION not just talk.