Reed: One of the biggest problems in this city is security. This school system has no security program. We have 200 schools in the heart of this city, and in so many of them you can step off the sidewalk into the building, and you have nobody inside the building to protect people against an outside intruder. We had a robbery in a school yesterday. . . .
I think we should look at some kind of moneys that we could use above and beyond the base budget to have a program that will secure the people in our schools. The police department does not have the manpower and personnel to bring about the kind of security we need for 160,000 children and an employment force of close to 12,000 people. I think the federal government should sit down with some local people and talk about the kinds of things that could be done to make people feel better about schools. Our schools are at the mercy of the thugs and hoodlums in this city.
Dellums: Are we at the point where the schools of this city need that level of security? If that is where it is, then you know we have made a quantum jump in the nature of education or the philosophy of education, or at least the philosophy of the atmosphere of education, because many people state that good education cannot take place in an atmosphere that is being policed, that that contradicts the notions of education. Are we at a point where we have to move beyond that?
Reed: We are at a point [where] we have to deal with realism. We have to be realistic about what is happening in the cities. That philosophy sounds good. But when I have kids being shot in schools by outside intruders and teachers being mauled by outside intruders -- last year we had a young girl 10 years old taken out of the building and raped -- I don't have time for rhetoric. We are talking about bringing in protection for those people. I don't have anybody in my schools equipped and trained to handle somebody who comes in with a weapon. Unfortunately, it has been the responsibility of administrators, but they are not here for the purpose of policing the schools; they are there to be the educational leaders.
What happens is that so many of them turn themselves into police-type people rather than educators, and that is one of the reasons we have had a decline in education. If the administrator runs a tight ship, he has a good school. You can run a tight ship with no education going on. I am convinced that we have put our people in that posture because they have to protect the schools.
If a person comes into the school with a gun, there is only one person who can deal with him, and that is a policeman or somebody else trained to deal with him. I am saying we have reached the point where we have to be realistic about what is happening and, as a result, bring to bear upon the problem whatever services are needed.
Dellums: Just take the last five years. Have you seen a significant increase in threats to teachers, to students, crimes against persons, committed on school property, in the schools?
Reed: In this city, I have seen a slight decrease, and I will tell you why. I think our drug problems reached a real peak about four years ago. Now I seem to see a lessening of hard drugs. We still have the marijuana problems and the cheap wine and beer problems, but the hardcore smack and other kinds of hard drugs, I seem to see a lessening of that. As a result of that decline, which we are very grateful for, I see a lessening of the kinds of attack we were experiencing four or five years ago.
But we are still at the mercy of those people who are not necessarily dealing with drugs, but just come in to rob people. As I indicated to you, in one of the high schools, two guys came in with a shotgun and robbed three people yesterday evening. Fortunately, nobody was there but the staff, and two of the staff members were robbed. They may never catch them. I am saying they come and they go. But there is nobody there to protect the people.
The fire marshals won't let you lock any doors. I have school buildings with 85 and 90 exits to the street, and you cannot lock any of them during the school day; so all of those doors are accessible. We have looked at all kinds of ways of dealing with it, and we finally have a piece of hardware we think will help us in that direction, but we just don't have the right kind of protection.
Some school systems have gone to a large expense to hire guards, and they have guards stationed in the schools. I know Pittsburgh and St. Louis have done it, and many other cities. We, at this point, have not reached the point of putting that kind of money into security.