Montgomery Initiates 45-Day Action Plan to Improve School Safety

A 45-day action plan for enhancing safety and security in Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) calls for retrofitting classroom doors and requiring students to participate in more school safety drills.

MCPS has been actively assessing its safety measures and recently published an interim report on security at high schools. Now, MCPS is publishing its complete findings, which cover safety issues in elementary and middle schools.

According to Bethesda Magazine:

“For the past six weeks, stakeholders across Montgomery County have come together in a variety of forums to discuss what more can be done, both immediately and over the long-term, to prevent a school shooting from occurring in one of our schools,” the report stated.

The report includes the action plan for the next 45 days, which will start Thursday. On the to-do list is adding door lock magnets that will enable teachers to secure their classrooms from the inside. MCPS spokeswoman Gboyinda Onijala said classrooms currently are locked from the outside.

The school system also wants to distribute classroom keys to substitute teachers, write guidelines for security in portable classrooms, conduct facility safety visits at every school and check access control systems for any needed repairs. MCPS will send the County Council a budget request for money to spend on safety projects and will review emergency protocols and school onsite emergency team procedures.

Finally, schools will go above and beyond state requirements for safety drills and make sure to practice active-shooter responses. Onijala said under state mandates, schools have to conduct at least six scenario-based drills per year, but they have freedom to choose the type of emergency response they’re practicing.

Senate Bill 1265, a measure to improve school safety in Maryland, passed the General Assembly on the final day of the 2018 legislative session and has been signed into law by Governor Larry Hogan. The legislation creates a variety of standards and guidelines statewide. The bill would require public high schools to have either a school resource officer or plans for adequate law enforcement coverage by the upcoming school year. Public middle and elementary schools will need to have either a school resource officer or plans for adequate law enforcement coverage in place prior to the 2019-2020 school year.

Useful Links

Read the full article in Bethesda Magazine

MCPS School Safety and Security Interim Report

MCPS School Safety and Security Final Report