A recent survey of more than 1,100 Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) students found that about a third want school security upgrades.
About 20 percent said they’d like increased security staff and police officers in schools, while about 13 percent indicated support for more mental health services. The facility improvements favored by about 32 percent of those surveyed included better alarm systems, more secure entrances, additional cameras and classroom door locking mechanisms.
Some students also suggested establishing stricter school safety policies, conducting additional emergency drills, creating an emergency hotline and installing metal detectors at schools.
Superintendent Jack Smith on Monday drew attention to the survey results in a message to the community.
“Ensuring the safety of our schools is our first priority, but we cannot do it alone. Your support and input are critical to our success,” Smith wrote.
Smith noted that MCPS recently released a report on school safety and began work on a 45-day action plan. The school system has already completed some of the action items, such as adding door lock magnets so teachers can secure their classrooms from the inside. MCPS has also submitted a funding request to the County Council for security upgrades and written guidelines and best practices for promoting safety in portable classrooms.
The school system is still working on accounting for and distributing classroom door keys to substitute staff teachers in schools; conducting additional safety checks at each school; reviewing access control systems at all schools and making any necessary upgrades and repairs; holding additional safety drills at schools; reviewing current emergency response protocols; and checking on-site emergency team procedures and updating them if need be.
Community members can keep track of the school system’s progress on the to-do list here.
Bethany Rodgers can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.