The Floyd County Board of Education held a called meeting on Tuesday February, 20 at 7 am. The meeting concentrated on the emotionally charged subject of school safety.
The safety discussion was launched after a Facebook post by board member and Floyd County businessman, Jay Shell, suggested arming teachers as a possible way to increase safety in schools.
The public Facebook post by Shell generated more than 730 comments and 260 shares since its weekend post.
Superintendent Dr. John Jackson said “one of the things the board wants to know is the current status of our safety features and activities and different protocols of Floyd County Schools.” He called on Dr. Glenn White, Director of Students Services and Dr. April Childers, Deputy Superintendent to give an update on the status of FCS current safety measures, protocols and procedures.
There are currently four School Resource Officers assigned to protect 10,000 students spread across 19 different campuses.
Dr. White, has worked in the system in since 1982, covered the buzz-in security features complete with cameras located at all elementary schools. In every school there is an emergency radio that is ties directly into the 911 station, with the push of a button 911 is dispatched.
Floyd County Schools actually kicked the school year off by bringing in an expert from GEMA and Homeland Security to coordinate active shooter trainings. Dr, Childers said that FCS are looking into a two levels of entry security like the elementary schools have currently. “The middle schools will require another set of doors to have another level before you can get the hallway where the children are located for classes,” said Childers. Childers went on to say that upgrades were needed to the camera systems.
Board member Dr. Tony Daniel, who has 22 years in corrections, said, “… the best security is prevention. Good security is never convenient.” Daniel went on to say that everyone in the community had to get involved in keeping the students safe.
The meeting turned into a discussion of arming select teachers. Chairman Chip Hood had requested board member King Askew look into the legal aspects of the idea. Askew references existing Georgia statutes stating, “its unlawful to carry a firearm on school grounds.” He went on to say that the board could use a provision of the law hat grants exceptions to authorize certain people to carry a weapon on school grounds. This authorization must be “approved and adopted by board,” said Askew, and carry written approval and specific written policies. The system would also post signs stating “staff members are armed/trained to protect students”.
“It is a discussion we have to have…it’s not black and white,” said Dr. Daniel.
Jay Shell said the tragedy hit home for him as his wife and children are in the Floyd County School System, “there’s something that has to be done.”
Floyd County Sheriff Tim Burhalter addressed the board claiming, “use our resources to help. If you decide to arm teachers, the Sheriffs Office will be happy assist with the training.”
Sheriff Burkhalter mentioned the two coaches from Parkland who took bullets for their students, “…if they would have had an opportunity to defend them [their students], I know they would have.”
The meeting was a detailed overview of the safety of all students at FCS including bus riders and students at the Career and College Academy.
Superintendent Dr. Jackson concluded the safety conversation saying there were two or three big takeaways; working with GEMA and local law officers, extra personnel including more SROs and continue to discuss the policy on arming the teachers. Over the next few weeks, the Floyd School Board will be looking at all its options for school safety.
View entire meeting here:
Floyd County Board of Education – School Safety (7am meeting) AllOnGeorgia
Posted by All On Georgia – Floyd on Tuesday, February 20, 2018