BEL AIR, Md. (WJZ)– Parents, police, and community leaders packed a Harford County school gymnasium to talk school safety Thursday night.
Following the tragic shooting in Parkland, Florida, many parents were eager to find out how schools are being kept safe.
More than 150 questions were submitted for the discussion at John Carroll High School.
The weather kept some of the expected crowd away Thursday, but still, more than 500 people came together to share and hear ideas on school safety in what’s becoming a routine practice across the country following horror in Florida.
“Just want to know what the plan is because it’s what most important,” one woman said.
The town hall was an opportunity for law enforcement, teachers, elected officials and parents to educate themselves and each other on a wide range of issues of concern.
“I think there’s a lot that can be improved with the school systems,” one man said.
Since Parkland, there have been approximately 10 perceived threats investigated by the Harford County Sheriff’s Office. One case led to the arrest of two 18-year-old students.
“‘They weren’t threatening the school as in violence they were threatening the school with fear,” said Harford County Sheriff Jeffrey Gahler.
Harford County’s chief of safety and security was also in attendance. He weighed in on how Gov. Larry Hogan’s proposed $125 million for vast security improvement across Maryland schools will help.
“We do know that there is anxiety the part of the parents and some of the students and staff,” Donovan Brooks said. “Doors, security surveillance cameras, some of our aging cameras.”
The topic of arming teachers was also brought up.
Sheriff Gahler, who has a daughter in the school system himself, says he approves of the idea but says it’s not his call to make.
“It’s not something for the sheriff to decide it’s not something for school’s to decide, it’s in the hands of the legislature,” he said.
The sheriff was also happy to hear about the governors pledge of $50 million in grant money to allow for the hiring of more school resource officers.
Another idea presented was the creation of a special task force that would include training some school workers how to deal with a potential threat.