Districts work to strengthen security as students return to school

Districts work to strengthen security as students return to school (Image 1)

School security is top of mind in Connecticut and around the country as children go back to class following the holiday break.

Classes began in Rutherford and Sumner counties, Thursday.

Both districts are planning to increase security this year after the devastating school shooting last month in Newtown, Connecticut.

Sumner County Director of Schools Del Phillips wrote a letter to the Sumner Board of Education last month requesting a special meeting January 8, to address additional security.

Phillips requested 20 additional school resource officers by August 2013, saying it would provide each middle school with a SRO and the additional officers would be placed at elementary locations with the greatest challenge for quick response times by emergency personnel.

Phillips also requested additional funds to retrofit the entrances to school campuses.

Rutherford County Director of Schools Don Odom also met with local leaders last month to discuss various ideas for improving school security.

Odom said his first preference would be to add additional School Resource Officers but is “open to debate” the other options, as well.

Currently each of the large high schools has two school resource officers. Middle schools have one officer and elementary schools typically share an officer with another school.

It will require another 10 to 12 officers to provide one for every elementary school. The proposal will have to be approved by the county commission.

The Williamson County District is also moving forward to add more school resource officers.  Currently officers are only present in the middle and high schools.  A resolution would be provide funding to hire SROs for every elementary school at a cost of $1.7 million.

That resolution will be presented to the Williamson County Commission at their January 14 meeting.

In late January, the Williamson County School District, along with the Tennessee Department of Education is hosting a School Safety Summit to examine and strengthen the current safety protocols in Tennessee schools.

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