GloucesterTimes.com, Gloucester, MA

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April 5, 2013

Letter: Resource officer plan predated safety debate

To the editor:

On April 3, the Times reported on one position included in the Gloucester fiscal 2014 school budget proposal (”Resource officer in budget for GHS”).

The story noted that the position might be filled by a policeman charged both with augmenting other security measures, and with providing guidance to students throughout the district concerning safe and respectful behavior.

While I appreciate the Times’ interest in the district’s programming, I believe the story misstates the origins of the resource officer idea and doesn’t recognize the administration’s leadership in updating school security measures.

The proposal did not “bubble up” in the “wake of months of public discourse over safety in city schools” following the December shootings in Newtown. Instead, the plan predates most of this public discussion: Superintendent Safier told the school committee of plans for the position at its meeting on Jan 9, crediting GHS principal Anderson as the idea’s originator.

The story also erred in stating that the idea was a compromise to address divergent views that members of the public brought to the public hearing on March 27. In fact the administration had already discussed the idea more than two months before.

Greater public confidence should come from knowing the correct story: the administration has shown deliberate yet timely leadership on school security, shunning ill-advised proposals such as armed guards in all the schools or other knee-jerk reactions to events.

ROGER GARBERG

Gloucester

Member, Gloucester School Committee

Editor’s Note: For the record, the initial letter from Amanda Kesterson, headlined “City should beef up protection of students,” appeared in the Times on Dec. 22, 2012.

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