When Ed Clarke attended schools in Montgomery County five decades ago, student shootings and cyberbullying were unheard of.
Now Clarke, 60, of Olney, is bringing his decades of law enforcement experience to a new job: executive director of the Maryland Center for School Safety, reports The Washington Post. The center was created by state lawmakers after the December 2012 mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, CT.
Clarke served for six years as school safety and security director of the Montgomery County Public School System before starting his own consulting firm on public safety and school safety issues. Prior to joining the school system, he served for more than 24 years with the Montgomery County Police Department.
He told the Post the center will focus on emergency management, bullying, substance abuse and mental health.
“We want to be on the front end of hopefully identifying students who may be in crisis and pose a threat to themselves or others in the school community,” Clarke said.
Initiatives will include the development of a website containing a searchable database of school safety resources, helping school systems assess their school safety data and school building layouts, and offering best practices for monitoring school safety measures, according to the Maryland Department of Education.
“I think he will do a great job,” said Montgomery County school board member Michael A. Durso, who sits on the center’s governing board. “Ed is one of the few people, in my opinion, who understands law enforcement and school systems. Usually, you have people who know one but not the other.”