Reporting Gigi Barnett
BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Lessons learned. After two gun incidents in Baltimore County schools, the district’s new superintendent takes drastic steps to make sure students are safe. One of them includes creating a new Office of Safety and Security.
Gigi Barnett has more on who heads up the new department.
Baltimore County school leaders said they always had a plan in place to make sure students are safe when weapons are on campus. Now they have a new department and a new person running it to make sure that plan is in action.
Two separate gun incidents inside Baltimore County schools: The first happened on the first day of class at Perry Hall High School.
“I ducked in and I see this kid on the ground, gushing up, bleeding. I saw his wound. It’s crazy.” Jordan Lebrum, a student at Perry Hall High School, said.
Then, weeks later, another incident of a gun on campus brought in by an eighth-grader. This time it’s at Stemmers Run Middle School.
“I was promised beefed-up security. That’s what I’m here to make sure– that my son is safe.” Shannon Harvey, parent of a Stemmers Run Middle School student, said.
Baltimore County school leaders want that too. In an effort to focus on safety:
“You can never be completely ready for an emergency. That’s the definition of an emergency.” Dale Rauenzahn, the director of School Safety, said.
Rauenzahn is taking over the district’s new Safety and Security office.
He says the current safety plan in place worked at both schools but he blames social websites for leaking wrong information to parents and students.
“Kids are Tweeting, posting and texting parents. We want to communicate, but we always like to communicate accurately,” Rauenzahn said.
Rauenzahn says there were many lessons learned during both incidents. He says more training is on the way and not just for students and teachers.
“Cafeteria workers, bus drivers, all have to be on the same page to report anything they see that is suspicious,” he said. “We need to work together so that we’re looking for those signs all the time.”
Rauenzahn said he is looking at Harford and Anne Arundel County school districts and school districts in Virginia to learn what they do best.
Rauenzahn has a long background as an educator. He previously headed the district’s Office of Student Services, which oversaw students’ conduct.