After defunding school police programs last year, Maryland's Montgomery County is asking police to maintain a presence in school buildings indefinitely due to safety concerns, the school district told the Washington Free Beacon.
Following the county's first school shooting in history late last month, in which a 15-year-old boy was shot by a classmate, the district asked police into the schools for a week. That week was up on February 1, but Montgomery County Public Schools has asked police to continue to monitor schools for the foreseeable future. A spokesman for the school district said "a date is not yet set" to remove police from schools.
"Our police partners are extending their presence on high school campuses," Montgomery County Public Schools director of communications Chris Cram told the Free Beacon on Wednesday. "At the same time an extensive workgroup has begun the work to ensure safe and equitable schools in MCPS. This work includes developing a vision for safety, security, and well-being right through to ensuring incident command structure during crisis is ready for appropriate response."
The county in March 2021 decided to strip funding from its decades-old School Resource Officer program after pressure from activists who pointed to a disproportionate number of black students arrested in the school district. Like many other Democrat-run jurisdictions that defunded police programs, Montgomery County is realizing that police presence in schools makes schools more safe. Montgomery superintendent Monifa McKnight announced in a Jan. 24 press briefing after the shooting that the district would reevaluate what a police presence "needs to look like" in the future. McKnight said the district did not plan to reinstate the School Resource Officer program.
Police were unable to respond to the shooting at Magruder High School until the injured victim was found in a school building. Two hours after officers arrived at the school, they found the shooter sitting in the classroom with a loaded gun.
The police department told the Free Beacon that it will maintain a presence in school buildings until Feb. 11, but the school district is expected to request further help.