The decision to fast pace the hiring of a private security firm under the guise of providing safety in our elementary schools appears to be more a political move than a well-planned solution to a potential problem.
This is another example of hasty, ill-informed decision-making by the current school leadership which did not involve the community or the school stakeholders.
The result carries a huge financial impact for the next three years and leaves many unanswered questions.
For instance, were principals asked for their input before this topic appeared on the school board agenda? If so, was their response valued?
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What was the involvement, if any, of local law enforcement? Was there an analysis of the pros and cons of using school resource officers (SRO) in lieu of a private security firm?
Were other options to meet safety concerns even seriously considered?
Beyond a general question on a limited survey, what efforts were made to involve School Advisory Councils or Parent Teacher Organizations in a discussion of school needs? Was any thoughtful discussion given to utilizing these dollars to provide security in other ways, such as fencing, additional security cameras or establishing a single point of entry?
Is the general public aware of the very limited scope of the security officers' duties when compared to those of our SROs?
We know that SROs, who are employees of local law enforcement agencies, can make arrests and Baker Act, counsel with students and families, teach about drug awareness among other duties. Can security officers do any of these duties?
What is the district's liability for consequences of any poor decisions made by security officers?
Shame on district and school board leadership for such a rash, seemingly political decision which impacts our most precious commodity -- our students.