Reporting Christie Ileto
LOCH RAVEN, Md. (WJZ) — The national gun debate was sparked largely due to a rash of school violence. And now the U.S. Secretary of Education is in Baltimore County to discuss how to keep students safe.
Arne Duncan joined the president of the national PTA and local leaders for a town hall meeting at Loch Raven High School.
Christie Ileto spoke one-on-one with the superintendent of Baltimore County Schools about what they hope to accomplish.
Gunfire rocks Perry Hall High on the first day of class.
“All of a sudden I see everyone behind me get up and start running away,” a student said.
Months later, there was a school massacre in Newtown, Conn. The fear that follows is one Baltimore County school leaders say they plan to ease.
“When we had the incident that occurred the first day of school, we knew we couldn’t wait for an evaluation process. We need to step in now,” said Baltimore County Superintendent Dallas Dance.
Wednesday, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan joined parents, teachers and students in the conversation about gun control and school safety.
“I am optimistic. Anytime you can welcome the Secretary of Education is always a good thing,” said Dance.
While Wednesday’s conversation is centered around gun control, the school district for Baltimore County Schools says they’ve already taken steps to improve safety on their school campuses. That includes adding more security cameras, more personnel and next year, installing a state-of-the-art visitor ID system.
“If you really belong on our campus, there’s a swipe system to use to actually get on our campus,” Dance said.
Superintendent Dallas Dance says the safety additions are just the first step.
Ileto: “If I’m a parent and I know what happened in the beginning of the school year, how should this town hall ease my concerns?”
Dance: “It’s a continued conversation. We will constantly continue to be talking about things happening across the country, things that we’re doing in Baltimore County to prevent anything from happening on our campus.”
This is the second time Duncan has visited Baltimore County Schools.
He visited Perry Hall High School in August advocating for higher teacher pay, days before the Perry Hall shooting.