3/20/2023: A planned shooter drill

Monday, March 20, 2023

High 46°/Low 34° Sunny

Kalamazoo Public Schools plans active shooter drills at all district buildings this week. Also: Kalamazoo city officials will meet with three candidates to be the city’s new attorney. And WMUK asks why Bronson Hospital employees don’t get more sick leave.

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KPS plans active shooter drills

Kalamazoo Public Schools is reviving a controversial school safety training program meant to prepare students for an active shooter situation. In an email sent out to parents on Friday and posted on the district’s website, the district announced it would hold “emergency safety drills” in every building this week. “Practicing various drills is a critical step in ensuring our students are comfortable with emergency plans and are able to react quickly in the case of an actual emergency,” read the message, sent on behalf of Interim Superintendent Cindy Green. It advised parents to talk to their children about the drills ahead of time. More details were announced on Sunday, including a breakdown of how the training would be delivered to different age groups. Those breakdowns are listed in a series of documents online.

The “enhanced lockdown drill” makes use a training protocol known as ALICE, short for Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter, and Evacuate. KPS has previously faced pushback from parents for the use of the program. In 2019, parents complained that the drills were too extreme. In the past, ALICE trainings have involved barricading doors and even confronting pretend attackers. KPS’s message to parents claimed research shows the protocol keeps students safe, though actual research is scant and sometimes conflicting. NowKalamazoo asked KPS spokesperson Susan Coney to outline the actual drills to be used and link to research showing its effectiveness, but did not hear back by press time. The district advises concerned parents to direct their questions to school principals.

Kzoo plans meet-and-greet with attorney candidates

The Kalamazoo City Commission is making plans to hold a public meet-and-greet with the top three candidates to become the next city attorney. The finalists for the position are Aaron Leal, the city attorney in Royal Oak, Lewis Smith, former legal counsel for Detroit Wayne Integrated Health Network, and Ivars Steins, the assistant corporation counsel at the city of Detroit. The public session is slated for 4pm Wednesday at City Hall. The commission also expects to hold formal interviews Thursday morning.

This is the second time in the past few months city officials have tried to find a replacement for outgoing City Attorney Clyde Robinson. In November, the city picked three finalists for the job and voted to offer the position to Oshtemo attorney James Porter. Midway through negotiations, Porter withdrew his name citing personal family matters. This time around, the city decided to conduct its own search, rather than contracting with an outside firm as it did last year. None of the other two finalists from last time are in this group of candidates.

More News You Need To Know

Why don’t Bronson Hospital workers get more sick leave?

Hourly workers at Bronson Hospital only get 40 hours of paid time off (PTO), according to a current employee interviewed by WMUK. That PTO can be used for anything the employee wants: vacation time, personal time, and sick time. But that last category can easily burn off all that PTO and leave employees subject to a loss of pay and even penalties. Patricia McCann, the head of the hospital’s employee rewards program, told WMUK that employees can be penalized for missing work. “If you’re not notifying in advance, and you’re notifying this, you know, right before your work, that would be considered an ‘occurrence’ and it would be tracked,” she said. Employees said that leaves them with very little flexibility in a job that frequently involves being exposed to communicable diseases.

There is one caveat: employees who come down with COVID won’t be penalized. “It’s like this double-edged sword where you’re like, you want it to be COVID because you’re not going to have any disciplinary action,” said one employee, who asked not to be named. But they still won’t be paid if they’ve used up their PTO. Other employees can donate their unused PTO to their coworkers, but that limits their own options. McCann told WMUK the hospital is planning a new flex benefits plan for 2024 that will allow employees to “buy” additional time off. That’s still a year away and may not solve the issue. [WMUK]

Things To Do In Kalamazoo

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Oberon Day – Bell’s Eccentric Cafe

Yoga for Activists – Climate Emergency Month
12:00PM 3/20

Read. Write. Draw. Repeat. with Creator Jarrett Lerner – this is a bookstore | Bookbug
4:30PM 3/20

Making Pizza with Mel – Pizza Katerina
6:00PM 3/20

Talk and Draw with Creator, Benson Shum – Kalamazoo Public Library, Oshtemo
6:30PM 3/20

A Conversation with Dr. Khalilah Ali moderated by Dr. Khalid El-Hakim – Miller Auditorium
7:00PM 3/20

Kirk Newman Art School Residents – Part I – Kalamazoo Institute of Arts
12:00PM 3/21

Keynote Speaker: Representative Rashida Tlaib – Climate Emergency Month
4:00PM 3/21

Wall Repairs Workshop – Community Homeworks
6:00PM 3/21

Environmental Ethics Talk: Is Ignoring Climate Change Akin to Mass Murder? – Climate Emergency Month
6:00PM 3/21

Blackjack 101 – Viva Fajita
7:00PM 3/21

Lettuce – Unify Tour WSG Nigel Hall – Kalamazoo State Theatre
7:30PM 3/21

The Upjohn Family Legacy and W.E. Upjohn Institute – W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research
12:00PM 3/22

Jeff Kodish: The Environmental Protection Agency vs. Big Oil – Climate Emergency Month
4:00PM 3/22

Board Game Night – Main Street Pub, West Main
6:00PM 3/22

A History of the Washington Square Branch Library – Kalamazoo Public Library, Washington Square
6:30PM 3/22

Get On the Map: Be Part of the Homegrown National Park – Kalamazoo Area Wild Ones
7:00PM 3/22

3 of a Kind – Hilton Garden Inn
7:00PM 3/22

Barrelhouse Acoustic Blues – O’Duffy’s Pub
7:00PM 3/22

See more upcoming events here.

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