School safety measures continue to move ahead in Annapolis

ANNAPOLIS, Md. — On the same day that Great Mills High School students in St. Mary’s County, Maryland, returned to classes after last month’s deadly shooting, lawmakers in Annapolis continued their work on a variety of school safety measures.

Maryland state Sen. Steve Waugh said he’s optimistic that all the provisions — in one form or another — will pass the General Assembly before the session ends next Monday.

One of the bills, HB 1783, requires that schools upgrade their facilities to make buildings more secure. Waugh, a Republican whose district includes Calvert and St. Mary’s counties, said that includes making improvements to securing windows and doors, and providing secured areas in classrooms for students. That bill has passed both chambers.

Another bill would require elementary and middle schools to have armed resource officers. That was referred to a committee, and Waugh said it has been amended to allow individual school districts to decide whether an officer should be armed.

Waugh, who raced from the General Assembly to St. Mary’s County on the day of the Great Mills High School shooting, noted that the students were back in class Tuesday. It was their first day back since the March 20 shooting.

Waugh said he has a number of friends who have teenagers who attend the school, and that there was some anxiety about the return to class.

“A lot of folks are really jittery,” but he added, “I think getting back in the normal routine of things will really help take the edge off and get kids focusing on other things rather than looking in the rear-view mirror.”

The Maryland General Assembly session ends April 9.

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