Bridgeport · Students

Baraka Opposed to Post-Newtown School Security Measures

This one is almost unbelievable. I had to read it twice. I thought my eyes were being deceptive.

Bridgeport Board of Education Chairwoman Sauda Baraka is against security measures put in place following the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School.


As you may recall, the Bridgeport Board of Education had sought to kick Bridgeport city cops out of the schools and handle school security on their own. That was despite the monetary savings and improved security that came with the police/school district partnership.

It was only when, as Connecticut Post reporter Linda Lambeck termed it, the “court of public opinion” intervened that the board backed down.

Now, as that partnership moves forward, Lambeck reports that Baraka didn’t like some so-called breaches of board policy that occurred, among them the practice of asking for identification at the school door. [Connecticut Post, 2/17/2014]


“Changes like that have to come from the board,” Baraka told Lambeck.

Huh? After 26 people, 20 of them children, lost their lives in one of the worst tragedies to ever hit Connecticut and the country, Baraka wants to back-seat-drive school safety measures the police felt were necessary?

It’s not like Newtown is so very far away, either. Bridgeport is only a few towns away from the site of the tragedy. If the Bridgeport police felt it necessary to check IDs, Baraka should have no problem with that.

Now, to be fair, let’s draw the line, because it has to be drawn somewhere. If, for example, the police wanted to unilaterally strip-search parents as they walked in the door, that is a policy that should probably come from the board.

If, for example, the police wanted to conduct small arms training inside the schools, that decision should probably come from the board.

But short of militarizing school zones or instituting universal strip-searches, the police should have free rein to do what they think is necessary to keep kids safe, particularly in the days following a horrific tragedy like what occurred at Sandy Hook.

After the tragedy at Newtown, school districts nationwide — and especially those in Connecticut — struggled with how to provide a sense of safety in school. Checking identification at the school door should probably have been happening for years in Bridgeport, a city with 1,500 violent crimes reported annually. [Neighborhood Scout, Crimes Rates for Bridgeport, CT]

Bridgeport, according to the FBI, is the third-most violent city in Connecticut. The police should be empowered to do anything and everything they can to keep our most vulnerable residents safe. [Connecticut Post, 6/12/2012]

And yet if not for the “court of public opinion,” Baraka and her board would have limited the ability of the police to maintain security at our schools.

Thank God for the court of public opinion.



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