To the Editor:
Mr. Evan West, in your attack on the Allegany County Commissioners, you state that you are shocked that we did not accept the plan for school security as submitted by the Board Of Education (“Commissioners’ attitude on school security not surprising,” April 12 Times-News).
You are shocked that we are not interested in the safety of the students of Allegany County.
You are shocked that the commissioners have tried to shift the responsibility to others. You are the concerned parent of a third-grader.
Mr. West, I am shocked at your total lack of the facts, or willingness to distort the facts. The BOE simply submitted a budget request, and a very general idea for a plan.
If you read the minutes of the April 9 minutes of the BOE meeting, you will see they are still developing a carefully thought-out plan.
You will also see that the commissioners have asked local law enforcement — you know, the professionals in public safety— to create a plan.
We have asked the Allegany County Health Department to look at the mental health issues.
Law enforcement professionals, the health department and the BOE will then work together to formulate one well thought-out plan to protect our students.
Mr. West, I was shocked to see that MABE — the Maryland Association of Boards of Education, opposed a bill moving through the legislature that would have used gambling proceeds to fully fund, full-time resource officers in every school in the state.
The bill was supported by a large number of legislators, the State Comptroller, the state Fraternal Order of Police, the state Resource Officers Association, numerous law enforcement groups, etc.
That plan would have used just 10 percent of the estimated $387 million being deposited into the Educational Trust Fund this year.
The cost to maintain the program, once begun, would decrease, while the money being deposited into the trust fund should grow to approximately $700 million.
Mr. West, I am shocked that although you are concerned about your third grader, you evidently do not think that Commissioner McKay would have the same concerns, and love, for his eight children. I am also shocked that you did not mention your position with the Allegany County Teachers Association.
At the commissioner’s budget workshop — a public meeting, held on April 11, a contingency fund was “created “ to fund a security plan, once created.
Mr. West, at present there is no plan, but one is being created.
The commissioners have not shirked their duties, but have brought law enforcement and the health department to the table, to help create a plan that is the best it can be.
Mr. West, your misleading rhetoric is of no help to anyone. The BOE, the commissioners, law enforcement, and mental heath care professionals will create a plan in the public eye.
William R. Valentine
Allegany County commissioner
Ex-officio member of the
Board of education