Cash-strapped DPS cuts security guards at several schools

- Many are having new security concerns in Detroit Public Schools as guards hired to keep everyone safe are on the way out. It is the latest cut from the struggling district.

Principals and teachers got wind of this plan late last year and pleaded with Emergency Manager Darnell Earley to not cut back on the number of security guards. Those pleas they feel fell on deaf ears.

But on the other hand, Detroit Public Schools is staring down a potential crisis.

"Now I feel that my baby life is not safe," said parent Raina Garrett.

Parents and students are livid.

"I just wish Officer Newsome could be here and help with all the situations that come to this school," said Kymani Jackson, a sixth grader at Carver Stem Academy,

They learned Monday of a cost cutting measure that's leaving several Detroit Public Schools without unarmed security guards

Many are said to have played invaluable roles on and off campus.

"He would come to the class if anybody had troubles and pull him out and talk to him," said Charles Bradley, an eighth grader at Carver Stem Academy, "And (there) was an accident actually when a kid was walking to school and almost got kidnapped."

DPS is laying off and reassigning security guards across the district.

It would not say how many are being removed or what schools no longer have security. But sources say at least six schools are affected: Carver Stem Academy, Moses Field, Ludington Magnet Middle and Nichols, Hutchison and Dossin elementary middle schools.

"They felt like this school didn't need a security guard," Garrett said. "Because they felt like (there's) not a lot of major issues going on over here. What kind of issues do it have to be have a security guard?"

"I mean just look around you," said Elliot Moore, a grandparent of a student. "You got burned out houses right across from the school on both sides, vacant houses. They need security here."

DPS contracts the security guards from Securitas and says the reduction was part of its annual budgeting process.

The DPS police department took a hit too. The district says the security realignments were made based on a wide variety of data, including property and violent crime data, school incident reports, and geographic location of the school in proximity to other security resources.

Teachers fear the removal of security guards will make their classrooms unsafe, require them to break up fights and leave them vulnerable to student outbursts.

"We have big kids and they're bigger than me," said Sabrina Gater, an upset grandparent of a student. "And you know they get into it, so they need a security guard around here. Most of the teachers are females."

It is unclear just how much cash the district will save.

According to a Detroit News report, the district will begin making $26 million a month debt payments in February. That's almost as much as its monthly payroll and benefits.

The district did not respond to a request for comment on that.

The district says DPS police will continue to patrol, especially the schools that lost security guards. The district is also making sure on-site security equipment is working and teachers know how to use it.

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