As a liberal Democrat, I don’t always agree with our good state senator Michael Hough. However, I am writing in strong support of his “As I See It” column from Nov. 15 (FCPS plan to fire student support staff harms school safety). When my husband and I moved to Frederick County over 20 years ago, we had four small boys and our choice of Frederick County was based on the school system.

Despite the popular reputation of Howard County and Carroll County schools, after extensive interviews with teachers, guidance counselors, and principals in all three counties, we chose Frederick County as being the most proactive and forward-thinking. The school support program was a big part of that decision, and we have never regretted it.

Children sometimes find school administrators and teachers intimidating. They won’t always open up about things that are happening and how they are feeling on a daily basis. These folks, after all, control their grades and school records. Not to disparage the importance of guidance counselors and mental health professionals, but there can be barriers there as well — children may find it hard to get past the stigma of talking to a “shrink.”

But our boys always saw the school support teacher as a friend, with no agenda other than providing support for them while in school. If they had a problem with another student or a teacher, they wouldn’t have considered talking to anyone about it other than the school support teacher. These folks have a unique opportunity for early intervention, preventing potential problems from escalating, and several times did exactly that for our boys.

So many times we hear students who become school shooters described as being “loners,” and feeling that they were without friends or support, eventually leading to a tragic outcome. With school support personnel in every school, children always have someone non-intimidating to talk to — someone who can be that intervention before a problem escalates into tragedy.

Senator Hough is absolutely right — by all means, bring on additional mental health professionals! I have no doubt they are very much needed. But please, please, FCPS, DO NOT get rid of our school support folks — they are essential.

Catherine Hart

Mount Airy

(6) comments


"Never mind":


Even though the lady is confused, SRO's are needed to make sure nothing drastic happens. They are at schools during normal hours and at after school activities, they do make sure nothing gets out of line and they are needed. As far as counselors, I think the LTE is right also.


The SROs are also one part of "community policing" initiatives, Dick. Kids get to know an officer, and build trust within the local community. All my kids know "Officer Smothers", and they like him. He knows them too.


The last thing they need to do is get rid of support staff.... regardless of political parties etc... these children need proper help to get them educated the best we can and we owe not only to their parents but to ourselves for making our society better. We spend so much $$$$ for other things in the education world and now we are surprised by this report and the treatment of the kids... and these adults do not blame them for what they need to do when more support is required each day. This is the time to get it right and to stop the witch hunt on who to burn at the stake.


I think this writer is confused between school system personnel and school resource officers, which have no real educational duties. Granted, their interactions with students can foster positive interactions but they shouldn't be confused with FCPS staff.


The school support “folks” Hough was talking about are “SRO” School Resource officers , these persons are police officers, not teachers. They do not have any teaching education. They are law Inforsment personal with a badge and all that goes with it.

I cannot comment about your or your child’s dealings with them. I’m glad they were good. But calling them “ Teachers “ is confusing ,and assuming other non “w.a.s.p.” Students feel the same way as you do about law enforcement officers, is Naïve.

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