Budget cuts cost Detroit schools security guards

Posted at 6:25 PM, Jan 05, 2016
and last updated 2016-01-05 18:26:03-05

It is a simple question: Effective this week, how many Detroit schools no longer have security guards because of cuts?

The Detroit Public School District is refusing to answer that question, saying providing even the number of people laid off without locations puts kids at risk.

Parents and kids say it is the cuts themselves that are putting kids at risk.

“There is a lot of drama with younger kids,” said Kymani Jackson, a 6th Grader at Carver Elementary-Middle School. 

She is one of numerous students protesting the layoff of their security guard to the best of their ability.  She says she has seen him stop bullying and search people to make sure they are supposed to be at the school. 

She says she feels the district wrongfully assumes younger children don’t pose a danger to their classmates.

"They say that only high schoolers need it because the kids are bigger and stronger. But also elementary schools have kids that are not just physically troubled, but mentally troubled,” said Jackson.

While kids are focused on problems inside school, parents and relatives of kids are focused on what is outside. Carver Elementary-Middle is a school bordered by abandoned buildings.

One dad who lives two blocks away picks his kids up everyday for their own safety. There was a murder just this week.

"The police knocked on my door twice because there was a murder on Westwood,” said Quran Muhammad, a father to two children at Carver. “What are they going to do if someone decides to come in there. It’s sad. I think it is sad.”

Michelle Zdrodowski, Executive Director of Communications at Detroit Public Schools released the following statement:

Detroit Public Schools is the only K-12 school system in the state of Michigan with a sworn, dedicated police department in place to protect the more than 46,000 students and staff of the district. In addition to sworn police officers, the Detroit Public Schools Police Department also employs armed Campus Police Officers, as well as unarmed security guards (through a contract with Securitas). As a part of the annual budgeting process, the DPS Police Department’s budget was reduced proportionally with other District departments. This reduction, which took effect on Monday, January 4, 2016, includes reducing the number of unarmed Securitas security officers contracted to DPS. The security realignments were made based on a wide variety of data, including property and violent crime data, school incident reports, school-specific information, geographic location of the school in proximity to other security resources, neighborhood composition and character and academic leadership team input. Due to safety concerns, we will not release the exact number of the reduction or the schools affected. To ensure all schools remain appropriately covered by security personnel, DPS Police Officers who are on mobile patrol will continue to visit any and all schools, but will place special emphasis on those schools with reduced security personnel. Additionally, the DPS Police Department and the DPS Operations Department are working to ensure that all on-site security equipment is operational and that school personnel are trained in its use. The DPS Police Department will also continue its partnerships with other law enforcement agencies in our community to help keep our school campuses safe.