State Rep. Jim Haadsma (D-Battle Creek) greets constituents on Monday, April 29, 2024 at Lakeview High School.

BATTLE CREEK, Mich., May 1, 2024 — State Rep. Jim Haadsma (D-Battle Creek) hosted a town hall at Lakeview High School earlier this week. The panelists, Battle Creek Chief of Police Shannon Bagley, Damon Brown of RISE Corp., Lakeview High School Principal Cody Japinga, and Pennfield High School Principal Andrew Loy discussed and answered questions about school safety, mental health and potential solutions aimed at bolstering the security and well-being of students across Michigan.

“I want to thank everyone who attended the town hall,” Haadsma said. “Ensuring the safety of students is not just a policy issue — it’s a moral imperative. I am committed to school safety measures that protect our students, support our educators, and secure our schools against any threat. It’s not just about creating safe learning environments; it’s also about safeguarding our future.”

During the town hall, Haadsma provided insights into the recent budget provisions and proposed legislation designed to enhance school safety. A significant highlight was the allocation of $328 million in one-time funds in the current year budget to school districts across the state to improve the safety of their students. As next year’s budget is being prepared, the legislature will continue to find ways to support safer schools and communities.

“It was a great opportunity to hear from other community stakeholders on such an important topic. Many ideas were shared that hopefully impact several different organizations within the Battle Creek community,” said Cody Japinga, Principal of Lakeview High School.

“By working together, we can create a safer, more supportive environment for all students. We can implement evidence-based programs that address the root causes of violence, such as poverty, trauma, and social isolation. We can provide resources and support for students who are struggling, including counseling, mentoring, and academic support. And we can hold ourselves and each other accountable for creating a culture of respect, empathy, and kindness,” said Damon Brown, President of RISE Corp.