Education

A year after promises to make schools safer, Thomas starts assessments

December 23, 2013

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In the days after the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newton, Conn., Escambia County Superintendent Malcolm Thomas told the daily newspaper, “We’re going to do everything, every day to keep our children safe.”

In January 2013, Thomas created the Escambia County’s Security Task Force to make our schools safer. He barred parents and media from attending the group’s meetings. For months, we thought that the group was working to make the schools more secure.

Today we learned from an article published in the daily newspaper that the school district has only recently begun its assessment of the security at its schools. Furthermore, those assessments will take four to six months

Why has it taken so long for the superintendent and his staff to do this? Wasn’t this a priority of the school board?

On Dec.14, 2012, Adam Lanza fatally shot twenty children and six adult staff members. The nation mourned their deaths.

Escambia County School Board and Thomas promised parents swift action. This 12-18 month delay is anything but swift and doesn’t count the additional time it will take for any security recommendations to be implemented.

Maybe by this time next year, parents will be able to have confidence in the safety of their children’s schools.

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  • John Morgan December 25, 2013 at 7:09 am

    As a parent with kids in Escambia County public schools I am more than a little concerned with their safety and the lack of leadership demonstrated by Thomas. I have requested a meeting with him 3 times within the past year, only to be dumped off to one of his aides. “Oh, Mr. Thomas is extremely sorry but he has blah .. blah .. blah to do, how may I help you?”

    Read the news accounts of the recent school shootings and you will see a perfect picture of Escambia County: we never thought it could happen in our town, who could have known, we didn’t want to scare the kids. In reality that means they didn’t want to spend the money to protect them.

    When elected, Malcolm Thomas made promises to reform the system but instead he has become the worst kind of bureaucratic wart, he protects his job at the cost of our children’s well being. He has done diddly squat in his term except uphold the flag left by his predecessor as having the worst schools in the state.

    Enough is enough. Vote Thomas out. Why can’t we hire a professional in his place instead of electing a string of good old boy losers with no idea of how things should be run? Minimum qualifications should be a PhD or EdD and 10 years experience as an adminstrator NOT a jerk with a B.A. who could not rise above the level of middle school social studies instructor in his 25 year career.

    Seriously, folks, if you owned stock in a corporation the size of the Escambia County school system, would you be happy with having an unqualified know-nothing running the show, or would you demand a professional with the qualifications needed to actually make things work?

    We in the deep south are stuck with a legacy of electing idiots to high public office when the reast of the world has moved on to hire professionals. What does that leave us with? Sheriff Andy and Otis! Nice guys both I am sure but both are incompetent boobs.

  • Observer December 23, 2013 at 1:14 pm

    I thought the same when I read the PNJ article about this. Why take this long?

  • Randy Webb December 23, 2013 at 10:32 am

    Maybe they should not have let Steve Sharp, Director
    Escambia County School District – Office of Protection Services go…