Benton Harbor school board president reacts to concerns of violence

BENTON HARBOR, Mich. -- A school board meeting Thursday night has prompted an investigation into the Benton Harbor School District for the mishandling of federal grant money.

The $2 million grant was supposed to be allocated to curb violence through added security tools and after-school programs. But after two months of continued violence, the board is questioning if that money is being properly used.

A video showing a huge fight in Benton Harbor High’s hallways is just the latest in several violent incidents which have prompted the board to take action.

“We’re concerned, as a school should be, for the safety and security of not only our students but our staff,” said School Board President Joseph Taylor.

Thursday’s meeting ended in two resolutions. One resolution holds the superintendent responsible to evaluate security and keep students safe.

The second resolution opened an investigation for the misuse of the gang prevention grant money that went towards security tools like metal detectors, lighting, cameras and wands.

“This board is going to dig deep to make sure that we find the root cause, come up with a good solution to put education back on top of the table without disruptive things happening in our district,” said Taylor.

It’s a solution many parents are eagerly awaiting. Saying this type of behavior is appalling and intolerable.

Taylor stressed the fact that the school board is taking the issue seriously, and making it a priority.

“Right now we’re just under an ideation process,” Taylor said. “I think what the board wanted to do was to set it in motion because we don’t need to wait.”

The board plans to move quickly to ensure a solution by the time second semester starts next year.

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