GloucesterTimes.com, Gloucester, MA

Breaking News

Latest Cape Ann News

February 15, 2013

School board to host hearing on security

The city’s School Committee has agreed on a 4-2 vote Wednesday night to publicly hear a proposal that aims to place an armed security guard in each of Gloucester’s public schools.

Amanda Kesterson, the Gloucester resident and mother of three young Gloucester children who has pushed the proposal — collecting controversial electronic signatures of support, then replacing those with handwritten signatures after the city denied electronic ones’ legitimacy — requested the public hearing of the board Wednesday.

“It was really gratifying to know that four of the members of the School Committee were willing to listen to members of the community who were really concerned about something,” she said. “It’s an important first step. I’m really thankful.”

Kesterson originally submitted over 250 electronic signatures of support for her petition to the city, 250 being the threshold for requiring city council to hold a public hearing. Those signatures were rejected and Kesterson has since collected about 125 handwritten signatures, she estimates, and she plans to continue gathering support, though the urgency is diminished slightly by the to-be-scheduled public hearing.

“We’re going to continue gathering signatures. We’re just moving forward,” Kesterson said.

The two dissenting School Committee members, Roger Garberg and Kathleen Clancy, pointed to the petition’s use of electronic, rather than handwritten, signatures and research presented by Superintendent Richard Safier that countered the implementation of armed security guards in their reasoning for voting against the public hearing.

“It didn’t appear that the petition had the kind of merit that would call for public input,” Garberg said. “I’m concerned that we’re establishing a standard here of public hearing that dramatically lowers the bar such that it becomes ... it becomes counterproductive.”

“It’s really a matter of respecting the administration’s research and judgment on the issue,” he added.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Latest Cape Ann News

Pictures of the Week
Your news, your way
Comments Tracker
AP Video Network
Judge Ponders Overturning Colo. Gay Marriage Ban Airlines Halt Travel to Israel Amid Violence NYPD Chief Calls for 'use of Force' Retraining VA Nominee McDonald Goes Before Congress Bush: Don't Worry, Sugarland Isn't Breaking Up US Official: Most Migrant Children to Be Removed Police Probing Brooklyn Bridge Flag Switch CDC Head Concerned About a Post-antibiotic Era Raw: First Lady Says `Drink Up' More Water Courts Conflicted Over Healthcare Law Holder Urges Bipartisanship on Immigration Raw: Truck, Train Crash Leads to Fireball US Airlines Cancel Israel Flights Obama Signs Workforce Training Law Crash Victims' Remains Reach Ukraine-held City Diplomatic Push Intensifies to End War in Gaza Cat Fans Lap Up Feline Film Festival Michigan Plant's Goal: Flower and Die Veteran Creates Job During High Unemployment