School security was on the forefront of the minds of several city councillors on Monday night. Three councillors presented separate motions regarding safety in the schools in the wake of the school shooting in Uvalde, Texas, in May.
Councillor-at-Large Steven Morabito’s motion asked that Mayor Brian Arrigo add a line item in the Fiscal Year 2023 budget for any school safety measures the School Committee deems necessary. “Although we do not oversee the School Committee and the school system, we do as a City Council have the responsibility of approving the school budget as a whole each year,” said Morabito. “Also, we can make recommendations to the mayor to provide funds for schools. We also have the responsibility of acting in the best interest of the city, and being that these schools are in our city, we have every right to be cautious and take precautions.”
Morabito said the schools should be a beacon of safety for students, staff and teachers. “I feel it is imperative that we request the mayor to add a line item to the budget to support our colleagues on the School Committee and the superintendent … by providing the funds as the School Committee deems necessary, based on a feasibility study,” said Morabito.
Councillor-at-Large Dan Rizzo commended Morabito’s motion, but recommended that the city’s state legislative delegation look into adding money in the state budget for school safety measures. “I think an issue like this where it affects everyone [in the state], it might be worth asking the state delegation if they can make an additional appropriation for school safety,” said Rizzo.
Ward 3 Councillor Anthony Cogliandro presented a motion asking the mayor, School Committee and City Council to hold a joint meeting to discuss security measures. After speaking to members of the School Committee after a recent Safety and Security Subcommittee meeting, Cogliandro asked that his motion be tabled. However, he did note that there could be improvements made to security training and measures at the schools.
Ward 4 Councillor Patrick Keefe presented a motion asking the mayor to have the Police Department update the City Council and School Committee on security measures. Keefe said it is important for councillors and other elected officials to reflect on how the Texas school shooting and other national tragedies impact students and families locally in Revere. “I don’t want to grandstand in the light of another tragic school shooting, but I have received a number of calls and messages from concerned parents, and I also go home, and like many of you, have to see your family and your children and you have to answer to them,” said Keefe.
Keefe said the recent School Committee Subcommittee meeting addressed a number of questions and concerns, and he added that he has full confidence in the city’s School and Police Departments. But Keefe said he would still like to hold a joint meeting to make sure the city is taking advantage of all the resources it can when it comes to school safety and security.