Are we doing all that we can to ensure the safety and security of our children and grandchildren in Delaware school today?
This is not a partisan issue. In the weeks since the shooting in Florida, and again closer to home on the Eastern Shore in Maryland, there has been no substantive discussion in Dover on the question of what we can or should do about safety and security in our schools, regardless of any new legislation.
A recent national poll published in USA Today cited the fact that 80% of the students aged 13 to 17 surveyed have had a serious discussion with their parents dealing with guns in schools.
Among these same students 19% say they don’t feel safe at their school and 15% say it’s likely that there will be a shooting at their school.
Should this not sound alarm bells?
Parents are concerned enough to have serious discussions with their children. Yet, some students still go to school with doubts about their safety.
Many school districts in Delaware, including my own Appoquinimink District, have spent a lot of time and effort on school safety and security. But, should we not get the collective judgment and experience from throughout the state to leave no rock unturned?
Perhaps there are some simple steps to improve the existing safety and security measures in our schools. Maybe this is more complicated and needs funding to make immediate improvements. If that is the case, we have funds available that could be used for this important purpose.
It’s critically important that we engage all our stakeholders – i.e., superintendents, teachers, parents, students, and law enforcement in this discussion NOW.
In early March, I formally requested the leadership of the House and Senate Education committees to get all the parties together to determine what could or should be done NOW. I followed that up with co-sponsoring a bill to establish a School Safety and Security Fund in which schools could apply for grants to help pay for improvements that are recommended.
As Delawareans we pride ourselves on important issues that affect the welfare of our state. And, we put partisan politics aside to find common and effective solutions. There is nothing more important for the present and future of Delaware than the quality and safety of our school system.
If our children go to school in the morning with any cloud of concern over their safety and security, then we have not fulfilled our responsibility to them or their parents.