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County Schools 'Amped Up' Safety Efforts After Newtown Shooting

The school system was already in the process of evaluating its safety practices following two local gun incidents.

While touring schools Monday morning, Superintendent Dallas Dance was asked by a kindergarten student what he is doing to keep kids safe after a on Friday.

"This is something we already take seriously," Dance said he told the student during an interview with local media Monday afternoon. 

Following two highly publicized gun incidents at Perry Hall High School and Stemmers Run Middle School respectively, the school system was already in the process of reviewing its safety practices and put some new measures to use after the Friday shooting.

"We're continuing to move forward in our efforts because we already started this work," Dance said.

He pointed to work currently being done by his administration regarding safety protocol such as regular police patrols around school campuses, the creation of the office of security and safety and implementing buzzer systems at school entrances.

"We just amped up the efforts after Friday," he said.

The school system sent protocol to elementary school staff Sunday afternoon explaining how to respond the the Newtown shooting, which left 26 individuals—including 20 kids—dead. Dance noted that student support services are also a critical component of safety planning.

Dance and Police Chief Jim Johnson will work together to consider additional security measures for county schools.

"You really have to make sure you're doing everything on the front end," he said. "Again, it's all about being proactive."

JD1 December 18, 2012 at 01:42 AM
Could be time for a full time Baltimore County School Police force instead of the current SRO model.
Shell9 December 18, 2012 at 02:38 AM
.I asked several times...Patapsco High School always leaves the door open near the cafeteria. I have brought this up SEVERAL times and was told that the students and staff come and go out the door all day so it would be impossible to have it locked..It does not need to be unlocked all day. People come and go all day through that entrance. There is only someone near that entrance at lunch time. Half the time they don't question anyone coming and going. SO much for trying to amp up school safety.
Barbara McConnaughy December 18, 2012 at 02:08 PM
I agree. My son started Franklin Middle School this year, when I had to make a visit or two to the school I walked right in past several staff members trying to find where I needed to go and not one faculty questioned my presence walking through the halls. This has happened twice. I find that to be quite disturbing. When children are in school the doors should be locked. Anyone needing to enter the school should do so at the main entrance so that parents, visitors etc... can be monitored. What ever happened to signing in and out and getting a pass. Scool faculties are much too laid back.
Wendy December 18, 2012 at 11:18 PM
Two points: full time police or SRO's at ALL schools (not just middle & high schools) would be great and faculties may sometimes seem laid back, but being a teacher on the receiving end of being cussed out BECAUSE you dared ask who someone was tends to make a teacher much more hesitant to ask. It is necessary, but understand why some teachers don't.
JD1 December 19, 2012 at 06:19 AM
Walked right into Perry Hall HS today - not an adult to be found. Tired of lip service...
Geoffrey Atkinson December 19, 2012 at 10:59 AM
A voluntary program in which County police officers could basically sit in a school reading a Kindle or surfing the web while the students were present would be a stop gap measure. Since the officers would be off anyway it would not effect current patrol coverage. An easy assignment and some extra money for the officer. Paying for it however would be hard in this time of tight budgets. Redirect speed camera revenue for this purpose perhaps. Bake sales? Who knows, but most parents would not hesitate to help fund this. I'd pay $20 a month or so for this.
RLT December 23, 2012 at 02:37 AM
I would rather be cussed out on ANY level multiple times a day then have to deal with anything that has been going on in any of these schools.
FIFA December 23, 2012 at 03:00 AM
You folks aren't thinking like a shooter might. What if the shooter shows up at dismissal and shoots students outside? Or shows up in the morning and shoots as the kids get off the bus? Or gets on the bus at the last bus stop? Do you really think you can protect your kids against a shooter that wants to kill kids in this country? Wake up! The Mall, The Avenue, football games, and on and on. As long as they have an assault weapon or other similar semi-automatic weapon they will find the opportunity. With a 90 round magazine that shooter can fire every military killing round within 2 minutes with a "legal" assault weapon. Our kids wouldn't stand a chance. As long as we are willing to allow weapons for everyone we will have to accept an "acceptable" level of killing. Sorry to be so blunt, but that's just the facts. Our kids will continue to die.

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