Newly elected City Council President James Ferrera says that in light of the tragic shooting in Newtown, CT, one of his top priorities is to create a committee of city councilors to work with the schools on student safety.
"It's everybody's responsibility to make sure that school safety is a No. 1 priority," he said after being reelected Monday.
But school committee member Antonette Pepe says that safety for the students has always been their No. 1 concern, and it's an issue that should remain in the hands of the schools.
"I just don't think it's up to the city council to now come along and say we need help," she said.
Recently, the schools have added more than $1 million in safety improvements, including buzzer and locking systems and school safety officers.
"We do everything we can to make their children safe," Pepe said.
Parent Shantea Lopez, a truancy officer in two Springfield middle schools, agrees that school safety should be up to the schools.
"I believe it should come from within the school, I feel that it should be the people that already work there and know the school itself," she said.
Other parents say it doesn't matter who keeps their kids safe, as long as it's a top priority.
"We'd obviously like anything they can do to make things safer," said parent Elizabeth Padilla.
But regardless of who is keeping their kids safer, parents say they've already seen improvements in recent weeks.
"Ever since everything happened all the schools are making sure all the doors are locked in the schools now," Padilla said.
"I feel that administration has a hold on who's coming in the building ... and the office staff has been really great with keeping our kids safe," Lopez said.
Ferrera says he wants to see that committee work with the school committee, city council, the mayor and police.
He plans on creating it in the next few weeks.
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