School leaders, public meet to talk about improving school security

The Dalton Public Schools Board of Education heard from the public on how they can improve their current security plan. (image WTVC)

Two weeks after a chaotic situation at Dalton High School, the Dalton Public School board of education heard from students, teachers, and parents about ideas on how to improve their school security plans.

There were a variety of ideas thrown on the table Tuesday night; some presented by the board and others presented by community members. The board of education started the presentation off with the following PowerPoint:

After that presentation, the floor belonged to the public. Sharon Richard was among those who stepped up to the microphone.

"One resource officer per thousand students, which would put us at 2 into this building," she told the board. "I don't think that's an unreasonable thing."

While some made comments about school security, others shared the experiences their children went though.

"The one thing that's on my mind heavy, is what my son went through in the lunchroom when this all happened," shared a parent. "His classroom door was locked he didn't know where to go, so that was one of those kids running down the hall in the video."

Ideas like metal detectors, fences around the school, and more technology when it comes to keys and ID badges all came to the table. There was also talk about arming teachers.

"There are teachers that are willing to step in and be that last line of defense," said Judy Murphy. She told the board she was a teacher. "We love your kids. We care about your kids."

"This incident is exactly why we shouldn't consider arming our school teachers," said Tommy Keener. That comment was followed by an applause by the audience. He told the board he has two children in the school system. "That guy was cleared to work that day."

One of the most brought up topics was how to enhance communication to parents and teachers in the middle of an emergency. Many commented about how they knew students were safe, but had no idea about the teachers.

Following the public input, board chairman Richard Fromm thanked those in attendance. That included Dalton Mayor Dennis Mock, who spoke briefly to board, saying they city would work closely to guarantee school safety.

After the meeting adjourned, News Channel 9 spoke to interim Superintendent Don Amonett about his reactions to the comments.

"I came up with at least 15 new ideas," he said. "I think that's what we wanted tonight. To come up with more ideas to come up with the best plan we can for making sure our schools our students and our community is safe."

The board says they will talk about a draft of their budget at a work session on March 28th. There, they will consider which of those ideas can be affordable and will work best for the school system.

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