Cumberland Times-News

Opinion

July 14, 2013

Enough of this

Turf war over school security must be set aside

— It’s long past time for the Allegany County commissioners and the school board to put bad blood aside and get an expanded school security plan in place. The two bodies have been at loggerheads over who should control school security and funding for that security.

This should hardly be a news flash for the commissioners and school board members: The public does not care about your power struggle — it cares only that the two bodies take action to keep our school children and school personnel as safe as possible.

On Thursday, the county commissioners decided that school security should be in the hands of Sheriff Craig Robertson, in consultation with the board of education. The commissioners voted that the $190,000 they have allocated for school security will be in the sheriff’s hands, not in the hands of the school board.

The school board sent an email to the county before Thursday’s meeting requesting that the funding be allocated to the school board, rather than directly to the sheriff.

From the outset of the discussion about increased school security the two sides have been in a tug of war over control and funding. County Administrator David Eberly summed it up during the discussion Thursday:  “We have three different bodies here and they’re not working in unison at this time.” The third body he referred to apparently is the sheriff’s department.

Robertson, who has set forth a plan to use full-time school resource officers to provide security to the county’s public and private schools, is ready to move ahead. He said Thursday, “We all need to sit down ... and work it out.”

Robertson says he hoped to have officers in place during the first part of the school year, if all parties are on board with the plan.

If those officers are not in place when students are in class this fall, the blame should be shared equally by the county commissioners and the school board.

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