Detroit Today: How gun violence is changing Michigan school policies

Public schools in Flint and Grand Rapids have banned backpacks to prevent gun violence.

A stock photo of elementary school students.

Flint Community Schools and Grand Rapids Public Schools banned backpacks earlier this month.

Many school officials acknowledged that these decisions are temporary and is an attempt to stop kids from bringing guns to schools.

A recent report from the Center for American Progress noted that about 40% of Michigan households carry firearms.

Those numbers lead to deadly outcomes — more than nine Michiganders are injured, and another four are killed by guns every day. Gun deaths reached a record high of 1,544 in 2021, a 25% increase from 2016.

A University of Michigan study recently found that about 6% of Michigan children report carrying a weapon to school.

Michigan Board of Education President Pamela Pugh joined Detroit Today to discuss what steps can be taken to reduce gun violence at schools.

Listen: How gun violence is changing Michigan school policies


Pamela Pugh is the president of the Michigan state board of education. She says schools should have more social workers supporting students, and that the budget is more equitable.

“For decades, we’ve seen Michigan be at the bottom [related to] equitable funding,” says Pugh.

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