by Jack Mayne
There is no plan for the Highline Public School District to disarm its security officers or police “resource officers,” contrary to a KOMO television report broadcast Monday (Jan. 7).
“Basically, we are working on a proposal to update our security model,” Highline School District spokesperson Catherine Carbone-Rogers said in a telephone interview. “We had initiated an assessment of our model looking at national standards and national and local models in comparable districts to see (if we) are we using the best practices. This was started last spring” long before the Newtown, Conn., disastrous school shooting, said Carbone-Rogers, Highline’s public relations person.
“Now we are at a point, based on that assessment that our staff is putting together a recommendation for the school board to react to,” she added.
“The process was initiated prior to Dr. Susan Enfield’s hiring as superintendent,” Carbone-Rogers wrote in a news release Tuesday. “At this time, Dr. Enfield has directed staff to draft recommendations based on the district security assessment. When the proposal is complete, Dr. Enfield will present it to the public and the school board for discussion. Details of the plan are still being drafted; consequently, no details regarding the role or functions of security officers have been announced to staff or the public.
The district has armed school resource officers in its school buildings. They are commissioned police officers from the area where the school is located – a Des Moines police officer at Mount Rainier High School and a Burien police officer at Highline, for example, she says.
The district also has on staff armed school security officers in each of its service areas.
Carbone-Rogers said the review was to see if this was the best way to handle the problems.
She said she is not sure on what KOMO based its story but noted at the last school board meeting there were security guards worried that they might lose their right to carry guns.
“They were reacting to a proposal that hasn’t even been made,” she said.