Rearranging the furniture in Baltimore County
Members of the public seem to be encouraged that the new president and vice-president of the Baltimore County school board are trying to be more accessible and transparent. Last night parents applauded the fact that the board voted to adopt a new policy for the use of facilities that is a far cry from the one that caused so much outrage six months ago. Stoneleigh parents also were happy that their school is fifth on the list to get money for a new addition.
But what didn't get applause was the new security measures that include rearranging the furniture so that a barrier could be put up between the public and the board.
The furniture was rearranged so that the press table is a little farther away (with a better view, I have to add). In addition, the chairs open to the public are set back farther from where the board sits.
The barrier is made of poles with black tape, the type usually seen at airports that herd people through security or into a line in front of airline counters. The symbolism wasn't lost on two people who spoke during the public comment time and thought the barriers were yet another way to keep the board separated from the public. Members of the public have already been critical of the fact that emails to board members are screened by the administration first.
One new board member, Michael Collins, suggested that the security barriers would never keep the public away. Anyone could knock them over, he said. He's right. So why put them up?
Here's the school system's statement on why the security measures: “While no specific threat has been made on the Board of Education of Baltimore County, we live in a time where many government entities across the country, including boards of education, have dealt with safety issues."