Two summits on school security have been scheduled next week, although only one is open to the public because one called by city Councilman Sal DiCiccio will be a private session aimed at trying to identify additional safety solutions.
In response to parents’ requests, Kyrene School District officials have scheduled a town hall on security in its 25 schools.
“Keeping Our Schools Safe” will be held 6-7:30 p.m. June 14 at the district offices, on the northwest corner of Warner and Kyrene roads, Tempe.
The session originally was scheduled in early May but was postponed when classes remained closed because of the teachers walkout.
Ahwatukee CPA Scott Weinberg has been pressing the district for such a town hall for months and has been working with Kyrene Superintendent Jan Vesely to schedule one.
Weinberg has formed an organization called Secure Our Schools AZ, which has a Facebook page, to continue a campaign to improve security especially in the district’s middle schools.
A father of an elementary and a middle school student in the district, Weinberg became an activist espousing more security after the school shooting on Valentines Day in Florida that left 14 students and three adults dead and another 17 injured.
“The safety and security of our students is a high priority in the Kyrene School District,” officials said in announcing the town hall, encouraging parents to “join us as we learn more about the ways we are ensuring our schools are safe and secure.”
Representatives from Chandler, Phoenix and Tempe police departments” will be on hand “for the community to engage in conversation and share their questions.”
Parents are being directed to Eventbrite.com to sign up to attend the meeting out of apparent concern over the number of people who might attend.
Vesely said as many parents as can fit in the board meeting room will be allowed to attend, although the event also will be live-streamed on youtube.com and answers to questions will be posted after the session.
One of Weinberg’s chief concerns is the absence of school resource officers, armed police department personnel, in the three Ahwatukee middle schools.
Tempe assigns an officer to the Kyrene middle school in that city and recently Chandler City Council authorized an agreement with district to share the cost of SROs in the two middle schools in that city.
But Phoenix Police officials already have said they can’t afford to staff the more than 60 middle and high schools in their jurisdiction.
The department is already short several hundred officers for street patrols and its representatives at the town hall are expected to give further details on why Phoenix cannot staff SRO missions.
Meanwhile, DiCiccio’s office is pulling together police, school officials and some community leaders to “to identify opportunities where we can serve as a better safety resource for schools,” said Lily Floyd, DiCiccio’s director of constituent services.
“Our goal is to make schools in Phoenix as safe as possible by pairing your expertise with that of the Phoenix Police Department to develop better, individual prevention and response plans for our schools,” she said in an email to invitees to the private session.