Local parent starts petition to increase school security

Mark Fields has two children in Buncombe County Schools. Like most parents, he was shocked by the Dec. 14 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newton, Conn. By midday Dec. 15, he posted a petition aimed at local political officials and a simple plea: Make sure there are armed police officers and marked police cars at every school.

Since posting the petition, Fields has started a website, safeinourschools.com and heard from Buncombe County Commissioner David Gantt. As of today, Dec. 18, at noon, the petition had 225 signatures.

“We are committed to making sure that every child is safe in their school or any government building,” said Gantt. “This is not something we have ignored, and every school currently has a plan. We will continue to listen to the input from our chief law enforcement officers, the school superintendents and the public on this, as we always have.”

“We have to deal with the reality of the times,” says Fields. “The possibility is there, that this could happen here. Would having a police officer at every school help? It can’t hurt. If the safety and security of our children is really our first priority, this seems the least we can do to prove that.”

So far, Fields’ petition drive is a one-man operation. He is looking for interested parties to spread the word toward collecting 10,000 signatures.

The text of the petition, which can be found online:

Dear _______,

In light of the news of yet another horrific tragedy of a massacre of children and teachers in a school in our country on Friday, December 14th, it is now time that we take the steps to assure our community that this WILL NEVER HAPPEN HERE.

As a taxpayer it is nice to drive on good roads, and to enjoy all of the things that our taxes provide and there is NOTHING MORE IMPORTANT than the security and safe keeping of our community’s children. Please sign this petition asking our public leaders to act immediately to provide each of our City and County Public Schools with an on-duty Police Officer or Sheriff during the hours that children are in attendance, while simultaneously working to develop and implement a permanent plan to “Protect Our Children” while in the custody of our Public Schools.

Let us seize this moment while the emotions of this horrible crime are fresh in our hearts and minds and not wait another moment.

Ask our City and County leaders to take action immediately to protect our children and assure that this sort of tragedy NEVER HAPPENS HERE.


Mark Fields


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