How much security is the right amount of security for Montgomery County’s public school students?
Following the shock of December’s tragic shootings in Newtown, CT, parents and family members of students at Bradley Hills Elementary in Bethesda have written to county leaders asking for security improvements at the elementary school’s temporary location, according to a Wednesday Gazette report.
Students and teachers at Bradley Hills currently are housed at the Radnor Center, while the school undergoes modernization, scheduled for completion in August.
“Our school has no security system in place and our front door remains unlocked throughout the school day with no mechanism for screening visitors,” parents wrote, according to the report.
While county spokesman Dana Tofig said he could not comment on specific security measures at individual schools, he did say that each school has specific security measures in place, and staff and teachers are trained for emergency procedures.
“All doors other than the main entrance are supposed to be kept locked during the school day,” he told The Gazette. “There is signage on the front door instructing all visitors to report to the main office.”
Community members across the county have reflected on the security of public schools since the Newtown tragedy:
“As a mom of 4, I can't imagine a greater loss for a parent such as a senseless act like this that snatches away innocent lives,” said Wheaton Patch blogger Frances Frost. “As for our elementary schools, I feel like my children are relatively safe, although the portables do make me a little nervous. But I realize that no-one can be 100% safe all the time and I pray that every day my children come home safely."
The Montgomery County Council of PTAs has scheduled a school safety forum for 7 p.m. on Jan. 16 at the Carver Auditorium in Rockville. Speakers will include Doug Steel from MCPS security and Capt. Luther Reynolds, Montgomery County 5th police district commander, according to Susan Burkinshaw, a health and safety chairwoman of the organization. County council members and Police Chief Tom Manger may also be in attendance, she said.
Do you think locked doors are enough security for Montgomery County’s students? What issues would you like to discuss at the school safety meeting?