The School Newspaper of Winston Churchill High School.

The Observer

The School Newspaper of Winston Churchill High School.

The Observer

The School Newspaper of Winston Churchill High School.

The Observer

Safe Schools Resolution raises the bar for school security

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Photo courtesy of Sami Saeed
MCPS SMOB Sami Saeed presenting his Safe Schools Resolution to the BOE on Oct. 26. One of Saeed’s biggest goals as SMOB is to increase safety and security in s

In a world where mass violence is all too common in schools, it is no surprise that many students often feel unsafe in class. From individuals carrying guns in schools to countless bomb threats, MCPS has seen a rise in safety and security issues over the years. Recognizing that much can be done to alleviate these concerns, Student Member of the Board (SMOB) Sami Saeed has created the “Safe Schools Resolution” that he presented to the Board of Education (BOE) on Oct. 26.

The resolution consists of six “Here it be Resolved Clauses” with initiatives ranging from an ID Program to better vetting and training for security guards. After a myriad of safety incidents throughout the county in recent years, Saaed knew he needed to use his campaign to address these issues.

“Student arrests, drug overdoses and hate bias incidents have all increased in MCPS,” Saeed said. “Personally, I had two large safety incidents at my school [Richard Montgomery] last year. One of them involved an individual who did not go to my school walking around with a firearm in their backpack. Immediately following these incidents, I knew that if this trend of safety concerns continued, I would have to step up and take a stand against it.”

Although there are many important clauses in the resolution, Saeed specifically highlights the ID Program, which if passed, is required to be completed by January 2024. Under the program, all MCPS high school students would be required to show IDs when entering school everyday, and only certain entrances, where security will be present to check IDs, would be open. Additionally, administrators must conduct random checks on whether guards are properly reviewing student IDs.

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“I am a big supporter of a method to verify student identities before they enter the building,” Saeed said. “I support this measure since I have seen the issues with random people entering school buildings before, and it is honestly a huge problem, as we have no method to verify the identity of people in our school buildings. Furthermore, nearly every business, college, or other organization has a system of checking IDs, so I believe our schools need the same policy as well.”

Despite being the creator of the resolution, Saeed is not working on it alone. The SMOB Advisory Cabinet (SAC), consisting of different departments with students from all across the county, works closely with him to change MCPS policy. Currently, the SAC is focusing on student outreach to publicize and gain support for the resolution.

“I’m working with the SAC communications department to gather students who support the resolution to testify at the two Board meetings where the resolution will be discussed to help build student support,” Saeed said. “Additionally, we are working on a petition to garner even more student support and a publicity campaign consisting of social media posts, media outreach and much more to help get the word out about the resolution.”

The communications department, which oversees outreach, social media and IT, is ensuring that students are aware of the resolutions’ tenets and how they can support it. WCHS senior Eric Bomfim is one of the Directors of Communications, and is working closely with Saeed and MCPS students and faculty to further boost the resolution.

“As Director of Communications, it’s my job to oversee publicity and marketing for the SMOB,” Bomfim said. “I am spearheading the outreach of the resolution, through mediums like social media, video content, emails, flyers and more. We’re working with notable people in MCPS that specifically have large roles in the safety of our schools. It is through them that we not only improve the resolution, but also improve our chances of getting it passed.”

As the BOE prepares to vote on the resolution, Saeed emphasizes the positive impact it will have on MCPS students to ensure they are secure and safe at school. For him, the representation of student voices in making decisions about safety procedures in MCPS is crucial, and the resolution guarantees that students are at the forefront of the discussion around their own safety.

“This resolution does a number of things to ensure students are protected in the building,” Saeed said. “Whether it be a process of verifying the identity of all people in our high schools, or enhancing security guard training, or even reviewing the ways we communicate with our stakeholders after an emergency, this resolution looks at many ways to ensure the safety of students. I believe that reiterating the importance of preventive action will hopefully lead to less safety issues in the future, which is of course a benefit to not just students but the community as a whole.”

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About the Contributor
Caroline Harless, News Editor
Caroline Harless is a senior and the News Editor for the Observer. In her free time, she likes to bake, hang out with friends and watch Netflix. This is her fourth year taking journalism.  

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