Springfield Superintendent David Estrop and Chief of Police Stephen Moody met with school board members recently to address growing concerns about safety measures in the city school system.
Estrop said that the school system has an excellent partnership with the police department and school safety has become the most important issued at hand. He says although there is a movement to arm teachers, Springfield schools are not ready to go that route.
"What we are going to recommend at this point, since we already have school resource officers or DARE officers who are routinely in our schools, is that we would prefer to have police officers who are not only licensed to carry the weapons, but have been trained to carry leathal weapons under stressful situations," Estrop said. "That would be our preference. And we are going to hold on making any decision on providing arms to others until we get a clear signal from the state and the federal government as to what the parameters are that we can consider."
Estrop added that teachers, parents, students and community members can be vigilant against violence by communicating better.
"If you hear something or if you see something that just doesn't appear to be right, or sends up red flags, please say something to someone. Whether it is a school official, teacher or principal. If it's a police officer or use of the tip lines - they are anonymous," Estrop said. "We have a website, and you can contact us through the website. That is one of the most important things that people in our community and in our schools can do; if you hear it, or see it, say it."
Estrop said the Springfield school district already has its buildings locked down for safety and uses security cameras and other techniques to help keep students safe. More funding is being developed to add more resource officers to patrol school grounds.