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NBC 4 Spotlight: Upgraded Security Coming to Howard County Schools
NBC 4 covers the new screening system at Clemens Crossing Elementary. A system such as theirs will be implemented at all elementary and middle schools in Howard County by 2014. This system includes a door buzzer, video surveillance and signing in at the school's front office in order to safely admit visitors.
Joint Task Force on School Safety
Howard County Executive Ken Ulman, Superintendent of Schools Renee A. Foose, and Police Chief William McMahon released the findings of the Joint Task Force on School Safety during a press conference at Thunder Hill Elementary School on March 18.
In the above report Ulman outlined a number of specific recommendations that will be adopted immediately and implemented by the end of the year. These include buzzers, cameras and a badging system in every elementary and middle school, police camera streams at the 911 center, and improved training and drills in all school facilities including private schools and day care centers.
The report confirms that many protocols already exist which are effective in keeping Howard County schools safe, Foose noted. "We have many strong practices and partnerships in place, and staff that are dedicated to our children's well being." She added that the recommendations outlined in the report, once completed, "will raise school security to an even higher level. I am committed to quickly implementing these strategies."
"Our school system and county leadership hold the safety of students and staff as our highest priority," Foose said. "We greatly appreciate the continued support and full collaboration of our county government and safety partners."
The below information was compiled and reviewed by HCPSS staff and safety partners for consideration toward safety recommendations that were submitted to the Board of Education. We very much appreciate everyone's input and participation.
- Forum Feedback:
- General Information:
Original Message from Dr. Renee A. Foose
In the wake of last week's tragedy in Newtown, CT, this week was particularly challenging for communities across the country. Many members of our community have contacted the school system to share concerns and offer support.
This week, we established a Joint Task Force on School Safety in collaboration with the county government. The task force is chaired by Chief of Police William McMahon, HCPSS Executive Director of School Improvement and Administration William Ryan, and HCPSS Acting Chief of Operations and Finance Ken Roey. Members include representatives from county government, public safety, public health, the school system, parents and students. The task force will focus on three areas:
- Physical security and security protocols in schools
- Emergency response planning
Please consider participating in a community forum that will be held by the newly established task force. At this forum, the task force will share its mission and solicit feedback on school safety. Please register in advance to attend. If unable to attend, input may also be provided through the registration form.
I wish each and every one of you a joyous and rejuvenating holiday season. And I thank you for being a part of what makes this school system so great.
Community Forum - Location, Date & Time:
Wilde Lake High School Cafeteria
5460 Trumpeter Road
January 8, 2013
Viral Social Media Rumors About Violence in Schools
The HCPSS has been notified about viral social media rumors referencing violence in schools on Friday of this week. These rumors are circulating in school districts throughout the state. Our school system administrators and security team are working with the Howard County police, and at this time none of the rumors have been credible. Please be assured that all rumors and threats will continue to be taken seriously and fully investigated. The police will continue to provide an enhanced presence around our school campuses.
We encourage children to be responsible citizens, and this includes conduct on social media. We ask parents and guardians to continue to emphasize the importance of not spreading rumors and notifying adults of any inappropriate social media they receive.
If you receive any information that needs to be communicated to the police, please contact the Howard County police immediately at 410-313-2911.
School And Student Safety
In light of the tragedy at a Connecticut elementary school, we want to assure our students, staff and community that the Howard County Public School System places the safety of students and staff as our highest priority. Our schools take a comprehensive approach to ensuring that students have a safe and secure place to learn.
Here are just a few of the many things we routinely do to keep our schools safe:
- All schools have emergency plans in place, train staff and hold monthly safety drills, practicing responses to different emergency situations.
- All schools have security cameras that cover the main entrance.
- All school visitors are required to sign in with the main office upon their arrival.
- School Resource Officers (Howard County Police Officers) are currently placed at all high schools and several middle schools. These officers also support elementary schools, as needed.
- All employees wear identification badges.
In the coming weeks, our student services staff is prepared to provide supports for those students who appear to be struggling in coping with the tragedy in Connecticut.
Our schools have excellent relationships with local law enforcement and other agencies, and we have ongoing collaborative reviews of security procedures. You will notice an increased presence of the Howard County Police Department patrol officers as they make frequent checks around our school campuses. We want to reassure our students and staff that we take their safety seriously.
A key to keeping our schools safe is good communication. We constantly encourage community members, students and staff to report suspicious activity or any concerns to school administrators and/or teachers as soon as possible.
Our school system and our partners will continue to do everything we can to ensure that our children and staff are provided a safe, healthy, and supportive environment.
Additional Resources For Talking To Your Children and Students