Note: This is a copy of a letter that Oak Ridge City Council member Trina Baughn sent to new Oak Ridge Schools superintendent Bruce Borchers. It is followed by a response from Steve Reddick, who teaches American history to eighth-grade students at Jefferson Middle School and is co-president of the Oak Ridge Education Association.
Here is the letter from Baughn to Borchers:
Shortly after the Sandy Hook tragedy, Oak Ridge city and school officials began discussing the need to shore up security within our schools. Your Board of Education (BOE) immediately demanded the city provide an officer in every school while simultaneously declining our police chief’s offer to conduct the risk assessment needed to identify facility and policy vulnerabilities. Our police department has also repeatedly offered to provide safety/emergency training to your staff. All of those offers have been declined by members of your administration.
Seven months later, we have made very little progress. At the center of it all is a memorandum of understanding (MOU) that was initially drafted months ago to address the lack of cooperation by school administrators and their frequent interference with requisite police work. I am told that school attorneys refuse to agree with the parameters that, at their very core, enable our officers to uphold the law and maintain the safety and security of the public.
The incidents that have led to the need for this MOU are disturbing and give me reason to fear that the original emphasis of protecting our children from external threats is less of a need than that of protecting them from internal threats. [Read more…]