Harford County Public Schools is for the first time asking parents who are planning classroom visits during American Education Week to pre-register and provide a list of approved visitors for their child.
Also new for this year, photo ID will be required of all visitors. American Education Week 2013 is being observed nationwide November 18 – 22.
Interim Superintendent Barbara Canavan said Monday in a report to the Harford County Board of Education that the new procedures were being implemented as a safety and security measure, following a recommendation by the board’s Safety and Security Citizen Advisory Committee. No specific threat prompted the moves, Teri Kranefeld, HCPS manager of communications, said Tuesday in response to questions from The Dagger.
“No specific concern or threat but we are always working to ensure that our buildings are as safe as possible,” she said. “In the last several years, numerous incidents have occurred in schools across the state and the nation. It is our hope that this new process will allow us to enhance our security while providing a welcoming experience for our families.”
Photo ID has been required before in some Harford County public schools during American Education Week, but the practice is now being uniformly applied system-wide, Kranefeld said, adding that the requirement would expedite check-in. A local name change to American Education “Celebration” is also new. Kranefeld explained, “The word “celebration” is new to Harford County this year as we would like to celebrate public education with all of our visitors.”
Parents will get information from their schools outlining the recommended visitation days, varied by grade level in order to balance the number of visitors throughout the week, Canavan said, although parents are welcome whenever their schedules permit. Pre-registration forms are also being distributed to parents, with a registration deadline set for November 15.
Below is a letter to parents from Interim Superintendent Canavan announcing the new procedures, followed by the pre-registration form. Both documents are also available on the school system’s Web site.