Carroll County Times
Carroll County Times Opinion

Editorial: Thumbs up to a fresh start and a local volunteer, thumbs down to dearth of crossing guards

THUMBS UP: To a fresh start. The first day of school each year is always a new beginning for kids, all heading into a new grade with a new set of teachers, many entering elementary or middle or high school for the first time.

This year felt like a new beginning for the entire school system, given that new superintendent Steven Lockard was visible throughout the county on his initial first day of school in his new position and that it was the first time on the opening day teachers and students were joined by armed school resource officers. The SRO program, in response to school shootings, will have a member of the Carroll County Sheriff’s Office in each of the county’s public high schools at all times and increased presence at all other schools. Master Deputy Justin Shriver, who will serve as South Carroll High School’s dedicated SRO, told us he met with faculty and staff as they all prepared for the first day, as well as with students during a series of welcome back assemblies throughout the day Tuesday. “My goal is to build relationships,” he said. As it should be. We hope the SROs never have to respond to an emergency situation. Even if they don’t, the program has a chance to be successful through positive, respectful interactions between students and officers.


THUMBS UP: Deborah McCarty, of Taylorsville, traveled to Hungary — where her father lived before he escaped ahead of the Hungarian Revolution — in early August. She wasn’t there to vacation or research her roots. McCarty, a financial adviser with Thrivent Financial in Mount Airy, was on a mission to help others. Thrivent is a financial and volunteer sponsor of Habitat for Humanity. The organization participates in numerous projects around the globe, including right here in Carroll. For this one, McCarty joined other Thrivent volunteers to work on an apartment building designed to pull 15 families out of homelessness in the city of Budapest. “It’s beautiful, but there is a lot of poverty and in particular, homelessness,” McCarty told us. Last year, McCarty said she was part of building a shelter for battered women and children in Poland. “That was pretty awesome, too, a different kind of work, but again, very appreciated and very needed.” McCarty said she hopes that she, and her company, will be able to keep helping Habitat for many builds to come. We hope so, too. And that they get plenty of assistance.

THUMBS DOWN: It’s unfortunate the town of Sykesville went into this school year seeking crossing guards once again. At Sykesville Middle School, many students are at an age where they are old enough and live close enough to walk or bike to school. But nearby Springfield Avenue, which students must cross to reach the school, can get busy. The town and the Sykesville Police Department partnered to set up a crossing guard program in the area. But in the past few years, they have been unable to get enough community volunteers to staff it. This means police have been staffed to fill that role. We won’t go so far as to call this a waste of resources because these officers will surely help keep students safe, but it would be preferable for them to be freed up to do real police work. We hope some volunteers will step up. All that’s required is about 30 minutes in the morning and 30 minutes at dismissal. Citizens can volunteer at, in person at the police station, or by calling 410-795-0757. If no volunteers can be found, however, the town and/or the department should seriously consider making the position a bit more attractive. Minimum wage might convince a stay-at-home parent or someone who works from home to make the commitment. At $10.10 per hour, that’s essentially $50 per week. Less than $2,000 for the entire school year. Seems worth it.