In the wake of recent attacks on students and school personnel, the District of Columbia school board will ask the city government to place guards in all public school buildings.
The guards would be drawn from the D.C. Protective Services, the same group that provides security in other city government buildings. These guards usually are armed, and some board members said last night they had voted for the measure with the understanding that the guards in the schools also would be armed.
However, superintendent Vincent L. Reed said that he and the board had not formally discussed whether the guards at the schools would be armed.
Although be voted for the measure, board member Frank Shaffer-Corona said that any guards placed in the schools should have "special sensitivity training so they won't be busting heads . . .
"The situation in our schools is not the same as it is in our streets," he said.
Two weeks ago a disciplinarian at Woodrow Wilson High School was grazed by a bullet as he tried to break up a fight among some 20 youths outside the school. It is not clear which youth fired the gun that caused the wound in the school officials chin.
Last month, a 10-year girl at Plummer Elementary School at Texas Avenue and C Street SE was lured by a man frfom her unattended classroom, forced at knifepoint to a wooded area and raped.
On the same day, two young men cornered another 10-year-old girl in the girls' restroom at Tubman Elementary School, 13th and Kenyon streets NW, and tried to rape her. The men were frightened away when a teacher walked into the restroom.
Earlier in the school year the manager of the business office at Calvin Coolidge High School was struck from behind and her purse stolen at about 7:30 a.m. as she was opening the office for business.
In two other incidents at Coolidge this year, students got into Fistfights in which two were seriously injured.
The board acted on the measure in response to a letter from City Council member John A. Wilson, in which he declared he and his finance committee would support the board if it sent a formal proposal to the city government requesting guards for the schools.
The board amended the original proposal several times last night to make clear that the board wants the guards funded through the city government budget and not its own. The guards would cost about $1.5 million annually, according to Edward Winner, deputy superintendent of schools.
Reed said that before incidents of violence occurred, his office had been working on proposals to improve security in the schools.
These called for each school to set up and implement a "safety plan," for each classroom to be monitored at all times by school personnel, and for school assemblies to be held to encourage students to report on strangers inthe the building.
In other action at last night's meeting, the board voted 11 to 3 to ratify a new two-year contract with the Washington Teacher's Union, which would not lengthen the school day nor the amount of time teachers would have to spend in the classroom. The union itself ratified this contract last month.
But the board defeated a move by its prounion minority to ask Superior Court Judge Gladys Kessler to drop a $343,000 fine that she imposed against the union for defying her no-strike order last March.