BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Big changes are coming to Maryland as a group of political leaders will soon identify what needs to be done to better protect hundreds of schools in the state.
Over the past few weeks, lawmakers have said that every school is different in terms of what is needed to bolster security, and a new bill will help them decide. But some school police officers in Baltimore City say they were hoping for more.
The heartache in St. Mary’s County and Parkland, Florida, has ripped families apart after two shootings that changed the country forever.
Since the tragedies, Maryland is one state that is making the safety of children its top priority.
“It’s what’s needed in Maryland and all throughout the whole country,” Sen. Kathy Klausmeier said.
The act, spearheaded by Sen. Klausmeier, has been approved by Gov. Larry Hogan.
It’s legislation that is designed to identify the resources and training that students and teachers need with a sub-cabinet working with each school individually.
“We must keep our children safe, we must let our parents know that we are doing our best to keep them safe,” Klausmeier said.
In Baltimore, school police officers were hoping for a change to carry their guns in school.
“That’s a law that needs to be fixed. We think it’s old. We had a chance to do it. We felt it was a win-win, it was a no-brainer,” Baltimore City School Police Union Sgt. Clyde Boatwright said.
Baltimore has confiscated several handguns from students in just months.
“Unfortunately, Baltimore City, we missed a great chance to do something good for our students,” Boatwright said.
Mayor Catherine Pugh said she hasn’t heard those comments from school police officers.
“What I do know is that our school police have guns. When they go inside of a school, there’s a lockbox that they have to put them in,” she said.
While the legislation has the state headed in the right direction, some in Baltimore are calling for more.
“I think it would take a tragedy to wake up the naysayers. To understand this is a realistic situation that could happen here,” Boatwright said.
Sen. Klausmeier said the bill will go hand-in-hand with the funding that Gov. Hogan announced to enhance school safety.
In February, Gov. Hogan announced $125 million to enhance school safety in Maryland.