Concern over Protecting School Employees after Teacher Robbed

Robber was able to sneak inside Detroit elementary school, rob teacher before class


He stepped outside McMichael Elementary/Middle School in Detroit for a cigarette about 10:30 a.m. Friday. Two men, maybe 19 to 21 years old by Phommarath's estimates, ran onto the schoolyard from the street.

"They said they needed money," Phommarath said Wednesday from the living room of his Warren home. "They took my $50 and my cell phone. They shot me, and then they ran."

Phommarath was left with a bullet wound in his right thigh.

Now, he says he's worried about going back to work. He won't be taking any more smoking breaks -- he said he quit after the shooting.

"It's the neighborhoods that are dangerous," Phommarath said, adding more police patrols around schools would help.

Two shootings on or near high school grounds last semester led Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick to deploy police to help patrol. Evans put 30 officers at troubled high schools for 30 days through the end of February .

And the Council of Baptist Pastors and Vicinity pledged last month to help recruit 2,000 volunteers to patrol the schools. They would be trained in the Detroit Public Schools Parent Academy, which has taught more than 300 parents to report suspicious incidents around schools.

The Detroit Public Schools' Office of Public Safety includes hundreds of unarmed security guards and 40 armed school police officers who patrol in school police cars.

Evans said Tuesday he could run the school district's public safety office more effectively.

Detroit Public Schools Superintendent William F. Coleman III has not acted on Evans' proposal because he wants to allow the newly elected school board to decide what to do. Evans met with school officials two weeks ago about his idea. They planned to meet again, the sheriff said.

Evans said he is frustrated because it appears that school officials do not want to collaborate with local law enforcement. He said if the board doesn't like his plan, it should hurry and come up with its own.

"Do something," he said.

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Sheriff's proposal aims to improve safety in Detroit schools

Wayne County Sheriff Warren Evans said in February 2005 that he could take over the Detroit Public Schools' Office of Public Safety's $18-million budget and run it more effectively. Here's his plan:

* Make the 40 school police officers sworn sheriff's deputies, or replace school police with deputies.

* Tie the school district into the county's Field Services operation, which includes the child rescue task force, narcotics and the auto theft task force.

* Tie the school district into the county's Juvenile Offender Squad to identify disruptive and wanted students.

* Ensure that Drug Free School Zones are enforced.

* Enlist reserves to patrol special events.

* Support truancy officers and the school district's anti-bullying interventions and pursue grant funding.

Source: Wayne County Sheriff Warren Evans' Proposal to Improve School Safety and Building Security for Detroit Public Schools