Queen Anne’s County residents will be getting a letter in the mail from the County Commissioners regarding the unanimous decision to increase police presence in schools.
During their May 22, meeting Commission President Stephen Wilson said, “I think it’s really important that the citizens know that we’re really doing our best and that television has turned the entire country into one big village, so that when people hear something happened in California, it feels like it’s next door. I want to reassure people that everything that can be done is being done. That is the point of the letter.”
Commissioner Mark Anderson said, “The Sheriff, the Board of Education and the County Commissioners cooperated for a number of years to provide safe and secure class rooms in our County. The Sheriff, recognizing the top priority, has found a way to cover all of our schools by effective management of his current staffing through the end of this school year. Joint efforts of the parties will result in a security plan for all schools (K thru 12) to be in place for the beginning of this Fall term. For obvious reasons some aspects of these plans will not be made public.”
While there is no specific threat to the County’s schools, Commissioner Jack Wilson discussed the emotional toll of school violence across the country that impacts all children and families in America. “Fear whether perceived or real is still fear,” said Commissioner Jack Wilson. “It would be irresponsible for us as Commissioners to not do what we can to minimize that fear for our parents, teachers and above all the students. Unfortunately in our world today we have to face these challenges and I am happy that our Commission along with the Sheriff and School Board recognize that and are doing what we can.”
Commissioner Robert Buckey said he and the Sheriff have been working on this issue for seven months to find a way to make kids feel safer at school. “I look forward to working with the Sheriff and School Board,” he said.
At the opening of the meeting during the Press and Public Comment opportunity, Queen Anne’s County Sheriff Gary Hofmann thanked the County Commissioners and the Board of Education for working with him to make the schools safer. “These tragedies across our nation are touching each and every one of us in a very, very personal way. Imagine back in the day when you stepped in the classroom, shut the door, and you were free from bullying, or worry of who is going to bang through the door to create havoc. Schools used to be a safe sanctuary.”
“We’ve come up with a plan, a few months ago, to make sure our schools are safe. I’m not going to disclose the actual plan but many of you have seen an increase in law enforcement at the schools.”
In the letter being sent to County residents, the Commissioners state, “The Commissioners understand that in addition to providing actual security, there will be a positive benefit in providing visible officer presence, both in terms of deterrent value, and also giving children and staff an increased sense of security. The Commissioners fully support and facilitate this vigilance, and commend the Sheriff for these precautions.”