Cumberland Times-News

March 31, 2013

School security

Stop the arguing and find a way to provide it


Cumberland Times-News

—  Disputes that take place on the national level often are reflected at the local level, and that seems to be happening here with the issue of security in the schools.

The Allegany County Board of Education last week requested a $500,000 supplemental security grant from the Allegany County Commissioners to pay for school resource officers (likely retired or off-duty police), mental health screenings and intervention for troubled students.

That’s when what’s often called “a turf war” began to flare up.

School board President Edward Root said the board is responsible for security in the schools.

Commission‚ÄąPresident Mike McKay said any security funding would “follow” Sheriff Craig Robertson, the county’s chief elected law enforcement officer.

Root said there has been excellent cooperation between the school board and law enforcement at every level, but that the board intended to develop and implement its own security plan.

What was supposed to be a brief discussion included how the security plan would be funded, and it lasted for nearly an hour.

Root and school board member Mike Llewellyn said they did not want to make school safety and security “a political issue,” and we agree with them. However, it may already have become one.

Both the commissioners and the school board have the same goal in mind: keeping our children safe in their schools.

Now they need to stop arguing and figure out a mutually acceptable way to accomplish that.