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Anne Arundel Delegates to Introduce Bill on School Safety

The county's state delegation wants to use revenue from casinos to increase security and mental health services at public schools.

Delegates from Anne Arundel County plan to introduce a bill in the House on Tuesday that would use casino revenues to increase security and mental health services at public schools across Maryland.

"If you really understand public schools in Maryland, you know this: They are becoming increasingly more difficult for classroom teachers because discipline is lacking at home and teachers are spending an increasing amount of time maintaining discipline in the classroom," said Del. Nic Kipke (R-Pasadena).

The bill would provide additional funding for mental health services like counseling and mediation. He hopes that the money would help schools hire new counselors or extend current services to help children who are struggling before their issues develop into disciplinary problems.

"You can’t educate if you don’t have discipline in the school," Kipke said. "It's becoming an increasing pressure on teachers and educators to maintain discipline."

He said the shooting in Newtown, CT, in December added an urgency to this legislation, but he thinks it would be important to expand these services regardless.

The proposed bill would also pay for a resource officer, who would be armed, for every public school in the state.

Anne Arundel County Public Schools have resource officers at all 12 high schools and 9 of its 19 middle schools, said spokesman Bob Mosier.

"Expanding that I think is necessary whether or not this horrific incident happened in Connecticut," Kipke said. "We need to give teachers that resource of having an officer who can get involved early before something becomes dangerous."

Mosier said he couldn't comment on the specific merits of the bill because the school board will need to meet and review the legislation.

"What I can tell you is that we have been for many years and continue to be in discussions with a variety of agencies about ways to maintain and enhance school security," Mosier said. "Certainly we are more than willing to be a part of that conversation moving forward."

He noted that he believes the county has an "excellent working relationship" with the Anne Arundel County Police Department, which employs resource officers in area high schools and middle schools.

Kipke said part of the goal of this bill is to expand that kind of relationship to all schools across the state.

Heather Macintosh January 15, 2013 at 05:30 PM
Any legislation that deals with safety and mental health for our school students needs to take a holistic approach and include a safe and healthy school start time. The links between early school start times and student safety before and after school, behavior and mood while in school, risky decision-making, depression, anxiety and suicidal ideation have been clearly outlined to AACPS board and administration. Shifting to a safer and healthier start to the school day could be one of the most effective changes we could make in improving all of these risk factors and more. www.startschoollater.net
TJ January 16, 2013 at 01:14 AM
Kids in school were doing pretty good until, because of a few parents, passed laws to basically tie the hands of the parents on the way they punish their kids without the fear of going to jail. The kids lost respect of the parents because now they can do what they want with no worries. They take that same thinking to school and the school blames the parents. The school system didn't have these problems before the laws were passed. The kids can lie about abuse and get their parents locked up. It's the fault of the State law makers for trying to control all the familys within their own house.
TJ January 16, 2013 at 01:16 AM
And who wants more sleep, the kids or the school system employees.
Mother of 4 January 21, 2013 at 03:10 PM
I thought all the "casino revenues" was going towards increasing the salaries of our teachers and other important workers in our county.

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