School security plan a powerful collaboration

When associate editor Amy Jones spoke to County Commissioner Lindsey Allison for the story, “County commission agrees to help fund officers in schools,” it was apparent Allison was proud of the work she, her fellow commissioners and the Shelby County Board of Education had done in coming up with a funding plan that could fund law enforcement officers for schools across the county.

Allison and her compatriots certainly deserve to be proud. This funding plan is a huge step forward in solving a knotty problem, one that became apparent after the tragic Dec. 14, 2012 elementary school shooting in Newtown, Conn. and again reared its head on Feb. 12 of this year, when a gunman held five girls at gunpoint in Chelsea Middle School. Fortunately, no one was injured in the Chelsea incident, but again, the school safety issue came to the forefront.

Parents from across the county overwhelmingly supported a law enforcement presence in county schools, and this funding plan finally offers a way to fund that presence in a sustainable manner.

We applaud the County Commission and the Board of Education for working together and making sacrifices in their budgets to contribute to funding for this plan. We also applaud the county municipalities that have committed to participating in the plan, and we encourage those that have not made commitments yet to do so.

Although the sheriff’s office has decided not to participate in funding the plan, we hope the department can find a way to support the effort otherwise. This is a time for all parties involved to put past disagreements behind them and move forward to do what is best for the people who really matter — our children.

Allison talked of the unprecedented level of cooperation she saw among all entities involved. While we’re proud of that cooperation, we also understand that no less than total collaboration is needed to accomplish this plan, and we hope that any other affected entities will offer total support.

Parents across the county are breathing easier at the thought of having trained service officers in schools. We appreciate that our county leaders saw this need and found a way to meet it. They overcame obstacles and are working together to serve the common good — a true measure of leadership if we have ever seen one.

The We Say is the opinion of the Shelby County Reporter editorial board.