Howard County parents sound off about safety

Posted at 11:41 PM, Feb 27, 2018
and last updated 2018-02-27 23:43:33-05

Tuesday, it was Howard County's turn to tackle the school safety issue.  The community was invited to listen and join the discussion at River Hill High School in Columbia. 

The room was filled with parents, school staff and advocates all working towards better school safety.

One of them was Lori Scott.  A mother who says student safety should be everyone's concern. 

"It’s very frightening for a mom like me, with a child who’s strapped in a wheelchair thinking about what’s going to happen to her? Who will help her? Are there policies and practices in place?"

And more questions remain for Scott, a mother whose daughter, Cassidy, has special needs.

"Will staff be adequately supported to support her?" asked Scott.

We spoke to Scott last year.  She was worried about what would happen to her daughter in the event of a fire. Now she worries about what would happen in a mass shooting.

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"Hopefully by July 1 all the districts across the state will have accommodations and devices in place to move students in case of a fire but i’m not so sure that putting Cassie in a device and bumping her down the stairs would be adequate enough in an active shooter situation."

And state safety leaders say these kinds of meetings will help answer questions and come up with solutions.

"The goal I think is how can we get better?  We always want to strive for continuous improvement and there’s a lot of things that we can continue to do better," Ed Clarke, Executive Director of Maryland Center for School Safety, told ABC2 

Also in attendance was  Michele Gay.  She's the Executive Director of Safe and Sound Schools. She also lost her child in the Sandy Hook massacre and wants to help schools properly protect students.

"It's been a very long time since our schools have had any significant funding from the federal and state level to provide for the teaching, the training, the education, the tools and the infrastructure solutions that we need in schools," said Gay.

But the bottom line is that parents just want to feel safe when they drop their kids off.

"I’m here tonight as a parent because of obvious recent happenings in high schools. I have 3 children in high school, middle school and elementary school.  When I come in and out of their schools, I’m concerned. I want to know what the plan is," said parent Ife Omit Owoju.

"We need to look at a multidimensional, multi faceted way to take care of all kids," said Scott.

Scott said she plans to take her fight all the way to Annapolis if better school safety protocols aren't improved for all students.