School Safety and Security
By Richard Jurgena, MCGOP Education Committee
At my urging and that of others, the Darnestown Civic Association held a Town Meeting last week to discuss school safety and security. Those present included the two County Council members, Craig Rice and Roger Berliner, who represent Darnestown, and four members of the Montgomery County Police Department, including a police school resource officer. Sadly, the Montgomery County Board of Education and the Superintendent of Schools couldn’t find the time or a representative to join us. (Note: We had an empty chair to draw attention to that fact). On the positive side, a lot of Republicans turned out to support us.
During the meeting, there were a lot of pointed questions from the nearly 40 attendees and some excellent answers from the police representatives. The resource officer was especially informative, and surprisingly, sometimes countered some of his superior’s comments. Perhaps he felt comfortable doing that, since he is retiring sometime this year.
The lack of attendance by MCPS should not be surprising in as much as their Montgomery County School Safety and Security Interim Report, which deals with the relationship between the police and the school system, was co-authored by a certain James P. Kelly. Mr. Kelly’s biography at the end of the report indicates that he was responsible for developing the policies used by South Florida school districts, including Broward County, to reduce the number of police incidents showing up on the district’s student records. In turn, these policies were based on President Obama’s 2013 “Promise Act.” The “Promise Act,” as I understand it, directed school districts to seek out ways to avoid having a disproportionate number of minority students graduating with police violations on their education record and offered financial incentives to accomplish that goal.
Considering the result those policies had in Florida, where a student with over 20 interactions with police had no record that would alert a gun shop about the downside of selling him a gun, if you are not concerned about the safety and security of our children in the MCPS, I think you should be.