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AG Nessel visits GRPS to address gun safety, growing concerns

Attorney General Dana Nessel visited the GRPS district headquarters Thursday, in the wake of another student in the GRPS district bringing a gun to school.

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel visited the Grand Rapids Public Schools district headquarters Thursday, in the wake of another student in the GRPS district bringing a gun to school.

Nessel sat down with GRPS Superintendent Dr. Leadriane Roby, as well as GRPS Chief of Staff and Director of Public Safety, Larry Johnson, to discuss what steps the school has taken and what it intends to do moving forward.

"It has a chilling effect on the entirety of the scholars in the Grand Rapids School District, Nessel said. "I mean, it's frightening to think that you could be sending your child to school and another child has a weapon. So, hopefully this is an opportunity we think of it as a, you know, messaging to get out that this is an illegal act or it will be certainly as of next year."

The discussion comes after a Stocking Elementary student brought a loaded gun to school on Wednesday. That prompted GRPS officials to enact an immediate backpack ban through the end of the school year.

"I have never imagined in my career that I would be having to do something around this banning backpacks," said Dr. Roby. "I want children to be safe. It is my hope that the frustration that you are feeling or that you understand the reason for the backpack ban, the fact that guns are winding up in the hands of our youngest scholars."

The District said it's poured money into things like secure entrances, which have been installed at the majority of its buildings. The district also said moving forward they'd be putting a special emphasis on threat assessments, that critical early detection, as well as mental health resources.

This includes ensuring counselors and other professionals getting enough face time to understand students needs.

Nessel suggested the state gun reform like safe storage laws and red flag laws could help to counter the trend we've seen at GRPS.

She also urged gun owners, particularly those with young children, to come into compliance, secure their weapons before the storage law comes into effect. The hope is stopping the next incident before it occurs. 

"Safe and secure storage," Nessel said. "It's so basic. If you are a firearm owner, if you have that gun in a place where minors are regularly found or can be expected, you have to secure it safely, in a manner where children can't harm themselves or others."

Nessel went on to say gun locks are available through your local law enforcement office, like the Grand Rapids Police Department. 

Watch the full conference with AG Nessel and GRPS below:

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