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A Traverse City group wants your input on making safer schools

(Photo: Pixsabay)
(Photo: Pixsabay)

The "Safer Kids, Safer Schools" task force is holding two public input sessions this week, as it shapes recommendations to give to Traverse City Area Public Schools.

The sessions happen Tuesday and Thursday from 6 to 8 p.m. at Traverse City Central High School’s cafeteria.

The group emphasizes addressing the reasons behind school violence — especially the health and wellbeing of students.

“Kids are telling us their needs are not being met, and we need to listen to that,” said group co-founder Jay Berger.

They’re working off a draft report from March, and are hoping community input helps shape recommendations for actions Traverse City Area Public Schools, or TCAPS, can take to make a safer environment for everyone.

But Berger said he hopes the recommendations they’ll make to the school system in Traverse City are useful for other communities too.

The discussions will center on specific ways to support kids, not larger debates, like gun control or Second Amendment issues, Berger said.

“We wanted to focus on things that the community could be involved in, and things that we could change here in our region,” he said.

This is about more than just making school buildings more secure.

“You can’t fortify your way to safety,” Berger said. “There are root causes to why these, in most cases, young men blow up. We want to get to them when they’re younger and meet those needs so it doesn’t turn into a school shooting.”

This story has been updated to include a conversation with Jay Berger from IPR's broadcast of Morning Edition on May 17, 2023.

Ed Ronco is IPR's news director.