School Board Police State Costs Tax Money

By Buddy Nevins

The Broward School Board has turned its meeting into a police state.

Frightened by the shooting at the School Board in Panama City last month, armed police working for the system now search purses, briefcases and wave a metal detecting wand over everybody entering the meeting.

Long lines formed at the entrance to today’s meetings.  It was like having to go through airport security, but never getting to travel.

The School cops were parading around the lobby in shirts emblazoned with the words: Police.

This whole exercise allows the School Board’s special investigation officers to pretend they are real cops.

I know they are technically sworn officers, but let’s not kid ourselves.  Being a School Board cop is not exactly heavy lifting, unless you consider lifting all that paper work from their investigations into teachers is dangerous.

There is so much wrong with this new scrutiny.  Let’s begin with open government.  This über security puts a damper on that concept.

And isn’t this the system that has been struggling to pay for school resource officers in the schools?

This is a ridiculous expensive overkill.  Emphasize on the word expensive.

I was told that nine cops participated which leads me to wonder:  What were they doing last month with their time?

I can’t imagine the size of the payroll being eaten up by all these high-paid, high-benefit cops searching soccer Moms.

What’s a few thousand more here or a few thousand more there?  If we don’t have enough money for classrooms, we’ll just blame Tallahassee.

Save Money: Privatize

If the School Board feels a need to protect itself, they should hire private security.  After all, private security is good enough to operate the entrances of the courthouse where real criminals are on trial.

But this is the liberal Democratic Broward School Board.  Privatization is treated like a deadly sin, rather than a way to save taxpayers money. For instance, paid employees with high benefits still clean, paint and do routine maintenance in schools.

Other than saving money, there is another advantage of privatization.  Contracts with private companies can have tight service standards. If the firm doesn’t meet the service standards, they can get fired and replaced.

Try replacing a school employee or cop for not doing their job.

Board members should have security at its meetings (and they have had less obtrusive guards for as long as I can remember).

Board members should also know that security will never prevent a crazy from harming them. Even politicians with the best security, like the president, get shot at.   We only have to remember as far back as Ronald Reagan.

And even the Board School Board has to come behind its wall of cops and go out in public at some point.

What really annoys me is that this whole uptick in security smacks of special privilege.  That’s because anyone can enter other school offices and any school in the system without such a search.

Oh, I get it.   Apparently regular employees or the kids at school don’t count as much as the nine Board members.

14 Responses to “School Board Police State Costs Tax Money”

  1. Sunrise Parent says:

    These nine Board members are so ineffectual I doubt whether anybody will ever threaten them. They don’t do anything! We’ve been waiting for a new middle or high school in Sunrise since my child was in kindergarten and now he is in high school.

  2. Officer Joe says:

    The School Board would not be the target of any threat. It is more likely to be the principal or teacher directly handling a disturbed parent’s child. There are more threatening incidents in a high school on a daily basis than ever at the School Board. Kids are bullied and get in fights and these fights can involve knives and guns. The Board has cut resource officers in the schools and then I read this. Shame on them.

  3. Daniel Simpson Day says:

    So Sunrise Parent is “waiting for a new middle or high school.” Don’t hold your breath, there’s no need for new schools. Piper is under enrolled and has been for six years. Westpine is just under capacity and so is Bair. Unless you and the other cranky parents who “demand” new schools have the money to build them yourselves, there are no new schools in Sunrise’s future.

  4. knowledge says:

    sunrise resident dont worry levenson is not their anyway

  5. A teacher who knows says:

    The SIU is incompetent. When there is real crime at our school they cover it up. The statistics on school crime are phony because the SIU doesn’t report most of it. They couldn’t investigate their way out of a paper bag.

    FROM BUDDY: SIU is the special investigation unit, the formal name for the school cops.

  6. Rebecca Stoneman says:

    If these policemen were earning $40,000 a year, which is appox. $20 each hour, it cost the School Board almost $1,500 for this without benefits.

  7. Attends Meetings says:

    Sunrise parent, there were 4 new school board members just sworn in so you cannot blame this school board from not fulfilling any past requests.

    Back in December, before the shooting. I left a meeting, went up to the 14th floor, and I thought to myself….there is no security in this building? It was only a few days later we had the shooting.
    You have no idea how passionate people get when they approach the school board with their grievances: Fired teachers, upset parents, unhappy parents. I’ve been frightened more than once that someone would do something crazy. Security was always nearby but they were unmarked.
    I’m not on the board, but I do attend meetings occasionally and I’m glad they stepped up the security. The SB would be a target for anyone with a mental illness that was set off the wrong way. Look what happened in Panama City.
    If privatizing saves money, they should definitely look into that.

    Thank you for agreeing on privatization.

    The School Board has always had a system in place to check your ID and give you a pass before you get on the elevator. They take your picture before you can go upstairs.

    In addition, the building is filled with security cameras that are supposed to be monitored by guards.

    Many regular volunteers are fingerprinted.

    If you got upstairs without going through these procedures, maybe they were too busy guarding the School Board to worry about the rest of the building.

  8. Floridan says:

    Get real (or don’t you keep up with the news?).

    When just about any deranged individual being able to acquire a semi-automatic handgun, complete with enhanced clip, and with media cranks whipping up the rubes, it makes sense to put in place reasonable security precautions.

    To my mind, this is just immature whining on your part.

  9. To Floridian says:

    The schools aren’t guarded and they contain our kids and more kids have been killed in incidents (Columbine, etc.) then have ever been killed at any School Board meetings.

  10. asluckwillhaveit says:

    just came from a community meeting. there are claims that schools have no basic supplies- again! was told elementary schools no toilet paper! … and yet our taxes went up…= for security of bd members ?

  11. Broward Parent says:

    If you school has no basic supplies , then the question should be why and budget cuts aren’t the answer. Call the Area office and ask why your child’s school is incapable of keeping in stock basic supplies like toilet paper. This is a site based management issue that is masquaring like a budget short fall issue.

    I am unsure why there needs to be stepped up security in the school board room. There have always been a minimum of 2 officers in attendance at these meetings. That is more than sufficient for the small crowd to non-existent audience that is attending a regular school board meeting or workshop.

  12. Former Insider says:

    Rebecca, $40K a year? These SIU Investigators are pulling down $70,000 or more since they are paid time and a half for “guarding” these meetings and being “on call” after their regular hours which end at 4:00. They are all on a pay grade 25 level, with the exception of the chief.

    Teacher, you would not be surprised, then, to learn that SIU has open cases that date back to 2003 that are still pending.

    The Broward County School Board, including James Notter, give lip service to student safety, but do not do much else.

    The Board members and Notter refuse to properly train all district and school-based staff in crisis planning and emergency response. The lockdown in November is a perfect example of this. A 15 minute safety training was scheduled for last summer during the principals’ leadership training, but it was canceled. There you have it: your children’s safety is not even worth 15 minutes of the School Board’s time.
    This past year, two of the only six emergency preparedness and school safety training positions in the district were cut. That left four full-time positions to conduct training, review emergency plans, and attempt to ensure that schools are following proper safety procedures through state-mandated training. These are people who are nationally certified to keep students and school staff safe. Not cops, but trained professionals with Master’s degrees who are now being used as TSA agents by paranoid Board members.
    These trainers are also at the mercy of area superintendents and principals, many of whom prefer to focus on standardized tests, which means student safety sits on the back burner until spring, if it is ever addressed at all.
    The District has never reviewed or enhanced its emergency response policies and procedures after the shooting at Dillard, the beating at Deerfield Beach Middle, or the recent lockdown fiasco. Parents should be outraged that the Board is more concerned (obsessed) with their own personal safety than that of your children. This is evident since they are wasting taxpayer money by using professional, nationally trained safety administrators with Master’s degrees to “wand” Board meeting attendees with hand held metal detectors while ignoring safety at the school level.

  13. BTU Sucks says:

    The District does not care about student safety but boy do the Board members care about their own. Could it be they fear retribution from all of their shady dealings?
    This smells like extreme paranoia to me.

    The District’s school-based safety and security training policies are severely lacking, and it is up to the principals’ discretion as to whether crisis planning and response is ever practiced or reviewed. From personal experience, I can tel you at some schools it is never seriously reviewed.

    Last year, in their infinite arrogance, the District cut two of the only six positions who were nationally trained and certified to conduct training in emergency management and response for the 250+ (including charters) schools. The remaining trainers now spend (waste) their time using hand-held metal detectors to “wand” Board meeting attendees. How nice to use people with years’ of training and expertise (not to mention masters’ degrees) to keep the Board members “safe” instead of providing adequate training at their assigned schools so that the children are safer. Why not have the guys with the guns and badges use the metal detectors? Are they only cops when it is convenient? You know, like when time and a half for overtime kicks in?

    Dillard High, Boyd Anderson, Piper, Blanche Ely, Deerfield Middle, Coconut Creek, etc., etc. How many more students must be maimed or killed before Notter and the Board begin to take student safety as seriously as they do their own? How many more lawsuits will be filed?

  14. エドハーディー says:

    As a high school teacher who talked with students in my drama club, I was appalled to learn how many thought of suicide. And these generally were “well adjusted kids” who one would have never thought could consider such an act. You never know who is depression. Just talk to someone, they need to know they are not alone. As always you serve your viewers well. Thanks. 🙂