South Bend school board delays vote on safety assessment

NOW: South Bend school board delays vote on safety assessment

SOUTH BEND, Ind. --- The South Bend school board delayed a vote on possible security assessments to be done at every school in the district Tuesday.

South Bend Schools Superintendent Dr. Todd Cummings said it’s not because they are hesitant about the contract. They just need more time to get all the details right.

“Laid out tonight was an iterative process. So we’re looking at vulnerability gaps, we’re looking at secure entrances and we’re looking at our background checks,” Cummings said. “We took the contract off because we wanted to ensure we talked to our teachers union and got all the details right.”

The assessment would also look at things like providing armed intruder training for all staff members in the district; address what to do in the event of a natural disaster and the security of school buildings.

The local group Moms Demand Action agrees with taking these steps to ensure student safety but at the meeting Tuesday they said they want to see the district take more preventative instead of reactive measures.

“We appreciate that the school board is prioritizing school safety and we just hope that any assessment that is done follows evidence based guidelines and has a lot of prevention on the front hand instead of reactive measures,” Desmond Harris with Moms Demand Action said.

While the assessment provides things like armed intruder training, board members addressed that arming teachers would not be a part of that.

“Student safety is our top priority, while we want people to learn, we want to be financially sustainable, we want to empower our students, and we want to ensure they’re safe, but arming teachers is not one of them,” Cummings said.

The board will vote on the contract at the next school board meeting which is on Sept. 16.

The total cost of the assessments and training is almost 100,000 thousand dollars but the State Department of Homeland Security will be covering the entire cost.

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