Westland mayor collaborates with leaders nationwide on school safety

Metro Detroit schools are still on alert following a rash of violent threats in the weeks after the deadly school shooting in Florida. Now one local mayor is collaborating with leaders from across the country looking for new strategies to protect our students.

Westland Mayor William Wild knows there is a way to make schools in his city safer and recently went to Washington, D.C. in search of it.

He attended a two day conference of mayors and police chiefs. The topic? Keeping schools safe in a changing environment.

"No solution came out of Washington and the problem is still there. So our goal is at the mayor and the police chief level is to start a wave of best practices. We'll start off in our own cities, share those ideas and try to solve this problem from the bottom up," Wild said.

This meeting comes in direct response to the school shooting in Parkland, Florida. Mayor Wild and roughly 40 other city officials from big and small cities across the country met to bounce ideas of keeping kids safe off one another, some of which will be making their way to schools in the Wayne-Westland district.

"Hardening schools is one thing we looked at, possibly putting in metal detectors and changing the access points," he said.

But Wild says a real solution will come by using a variety of tactics.

"We've got to find funding to get more counselors in our schools and I know Wayne- Westland schools, that's something they are looking at that right now because that's where the true need is."

According to the American School Counselor Association, Michigan is the third worst in country when it comes to a ratio of counselors to students, just one for every 729 students. The association recommends a ratio of at least one counselor for every 250 students.

While trying to get the state and federal government to work with local governments, Mayor Wild says he'll work on things that he has direct control over. 

"Our police department is going to start hosting meetings where we're going to train parents on basically how to monitor their children's social media."

Just one way to take a proactive approach to an issue that seems to be spiraling out of control.