Michigan Colleges and Universities Given Pass on Lockdown Drills

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

As uneven as many K-12 schools are in following school-safety requirements, Michigan colleges and universities seem even more confused, an MLive Media Group investigation found.

Michigan State University drills its dormitories regularly; the University of Michigan much less so. Disparities in the type and number of safety drills vary widely at other universities across the state.

And none follow the law that mandates drills against armed threats that even kindergartners must do.

Colleges and universities don’t have to. Lawmakers gave them a pass.

But doing so – especially given slayings since then at Virginia Tech and other universities – is putting Michigan’s college students at risk, according to one school safety expert.

“No one wants to be inconvenienced on (lockdown drills), but when the times comes it’s too late,” said Rick Crepas, president of Emergency School Safety Systems in Kalamazoo. “Everybody is vulnerable to it. … The safety of your students and faculty are at stake.”

The confusion and differing treatment at colleges and universities appears rooted in laws that sought to impose new requirements to reflect changing times.

Before 2006, all schools in upper and lower education were required to conduct eight fire drills and two tornado drills annually. That changed in June 2006, when lawmakers approved adding two lockdown drills in response to concerns about school violence.

The initial proposal included colleges and universities. By the time the bill passed, the language was removed. The reasons are unclear.

Read more »