Cumberland Times-News

April 11, 2013

Commissioners’ attitude on school security not surprising

To the Editor:
Cumberland Times-News

— I have to say, I’m shocked, but not surprised by the comments made by the Allegany County commissioners related to the board of education’s request for additional money for school security measures (“Tensions flare on school security,” March 29 Times-News, Page 1A).

I’m shocked that our commissioners don’t recognize the duty they have to support our BOE in making our schools safer, but I’m not surprised.

I’m shocked that they don’t recognize that the school system came up with a plan, modified it so that it wouldn’t impact Maintenance of Effort funding, and submitted that plan in good faith, but I’m not surprised.

I’m shocked that the commissioners would attempt to shift the responsibility from themselves to state government, but I’m not surprised.

I’m shocked because it’s inconceivable that in a post-Sandy Hook world that the attitude of our commissioners is that because it hasn’t happened here yet, county government can wait to uphold its responsibility.

Should the school system and our children have to wait for our own Sandy Hook?

I’m incensed as a parent of a third grader in the system that the commissioners would respond as they did and not recognize the pro-active response of our board of education and would instead choose to “wait and see.”

I wish I could say I’m surprised by the attitude of our commissioners toward school safety, but I’m not. This instance simply repeats a pattern of behavior related to our schools and how they should be funded.

If you want to know what the priorities of an elected body are all you need to do is look at their budgets.

This group of commissioners has funded our schools at the absolute minimum required by law in the past and, apparently, they intend to do that even as it relates to the safety of our children.

The commissioners still have a chance to do the right thing by funding the board’s request for school safety. If they don’t, I’ll be shocked, but not surprised.

Evan E. West

Cumberland