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School Board considers safety plan after shooting | Richmond Free Press | #schoolsaftey

The Richmond School Board is considering a multimillion dollar plan to ensure safety and security following a fatal shooting after Huguenot High School’s graduation in Monroe Park last month. Two people were killed and five others were wounded. The Care & Safety Plan was presented this week during the board’s regular meeting.

The plan outlined a 24-page, 15-point series of proposals totaling more than $2.5 million to address gaps in security and ways to improve student, teacher and community welfare. Proposals include more X-ray scanners and metal detectors, collaboration with the police and fire departments for external reviews, and hiring 24 more mental health professionals to meet the needs of students and teachers.

However, the plan failed to provide what several board members believe are necessary solutions.

“It seems like this presentation is a Band-Aid right after one incident where we made national headlines and we lost two lives,” 2nd District School Board Member Mariah White said. “You were not prepared for this event. You were not ready.”

Ms. White added that the plan outlined so far lacked consideration for mutual aid, ESL students and the local organizations that could collaborate on safety initiatives, with undue focus on less important problems and flawed solutions like metal detectors. She also stressed the need for training among RPS officials for events like the shooting and others.

Board Chair Stephanie Rizzi said several of the measures proposed were too punitive for her liking, and risked treating students as potential threats over recognizing their actions as the result of experiencing pain, and providing ways of mitigating this.

“It looks like we’re headed to a dystopian future,” Ms. Rizzi said. “I don’t want to believe that that is where we’re headed. “I would like to know or believe that we can address what is harming our students, why they’re acting out this way, so that we don’t have to have these kinds of things as permanent measures.”

For nearly 40 minutes several opinions were shared among board members about ways to bring students into safety discussions, the value of certain proposals over others not proposed and how much responsibility RPS leadership should be taking on or delegating to ensure the safety of schools.

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