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Columbia teachers’ union plans protest over school safety


In the wake of the recent shooting at the University of Nevada-Las Vegas, the Columbia teachers' union is planning to protest what they are calling “district inaction on school safety.”

The protest is scheduled to start before the next school board meeting on Monday.

According to an email obtained by ABC 17 News, organizers are encouraging people to wear black and hold up protest signs in front of the Aslin Administrative Building. 

A few hours after that email was sent, Columbia Public Schools Superintendent Brian Yearwood sent an email to parents that outlined all the safety measures the district has put in place. However, Columbia Missouri National Education Association President Noelle Gilzow told ABC 17 News that she believes the timing was coincidental and was not in response to their planned protest. 

The email from Yearwood described the district having regular drills, building security and cameras, buzz-in systems, and better lighting. CPS also has partnered with law enforcement for current and retired police officers serving as building security. 

According to Yearwood’s email, the district has signed off to install an alert system provided by the state. the district is also working with the company Evolve to continue learning about possibly adding a weapons detection system. Hickman High School will test a weapons detection system Monday through Dec. 21, the start of winter break.

Yearwood highlighted the importance of students and staff reporting any suspicious activity they see. However, he also asked for support in helping manage school safety. The district would like to ban weapons in vehicles on campus. But state law allows weapons to be in cars on campus including parking lots, which the district feels is a safety concern, according to the email from Yearwood. The district believes weapons should be only for law enforcement and security on campus, according to the email. 

Gilzow told ABC 17 News that while the district's efforts to protect schools from outsiders were fine, she was more concerned about what was happening inside of schools.

She added that some of the things could potentially be a part of a lawsuit, so she could not get into further details. However, she told ABC 17 News that the lawsuits are not related to students. She also talked about a lack of administrative support in certain buildings across the district, prompting the protest.

Article Topic Follows: Columbia Public Schools

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Mitchell Kaminski

Mitchell Kaminski is from Wheaton, Illinois. He earned a degree in sports communication and journalism from Bradley University. He has done radio play-by-play and co-hosts a Chicago White Sox podcast.


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