Weekly Feature

2018-10-10 / Letters to the Editor

Security is needed at elementary schools

A School Safety Task Force comprising representatives from the FBI, the ATF, local police force, Homeland Security and the Department of Justice met last year to discuss the best way to address school safety concerns in the wake of previous tragic shootings in the schools.

The committee, after extensive discussion and using their wide-ranging expertise, concluded that the best way to ensure the safety of the students was to supplement any security monitoring of access to the buildings with an on-site safety officer. They recommended to the Board of Education that the schools employ a full-time safety officer for each building in the district.

The board has hired safety officers for the high school and middle school but choose not to follow this recommendation for the elementary schools. After Sandy Hook, we have learned it is not just the safety of the students in the higher grades that we need to be concerned about. I am wondering what the thinking is of the board members with regard to not including the hiring of safety officers for the elementary schools. It is my understanding that the salary of these safety officers (usually well-trained retired former police officers) runs about $25,000 per year and does not include any benefits. With a school budget of $82 million per year, it seems to me that another $100,000 to cover additional protection for our youngest students is a small price to pay.

If it is not the money, then what other hesitation does the board have in not following the Task Force’s recommendation?

Diane Showalter
The Maples

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