Whitfield county school system talks about current safety measures at board meeting

Monday night, the Whitfield County School Board heard from administrators about what their current plan is to respond to emergencies. (Image WTVC)

While Dalton High School may not be part of the Whitfield County school system, Superintendent Judy Gilreath says last week's incident, when a high school teacher shot through a window, still hits close to home.

"We never said it could not happen here," said Dr. Gilreath. "It could happen anywhere, but it's still scary when it happens in your home county."

That's why she asked Mike Ewton, the assistant Superintendent of Operations, to make a presentation of current school safety plans.

"We always have a lot going on behind the scenes," he said. "Whether it's prevention or response, with 13,000 students, there's always something going on."

Ewton says administrators who handle emergency safety plans focus on a cycle of 4 phases: prevention, preparedness, response and recovery.

According to Ewton's presentation, each school in the school system has an assigned detective from the Whitfield County Sheriff's Office as well as a school resource officer (SRO). Each of those officers have access to school buildings, and, throughout the system. there are 925 cameras in schools and administrative buildings. Ewton says as far as an emergency response plan during an emergency goes, that's something that's always changing.

"To build our plan some more, we try to look at things that happen elsewhere." Ewton says the school system is prepared for dangerous events, like the one in Dalton last week or the the tragic on in Florida. That's something the county's superintendent says is valuable for parents and teachers to hear.

"I've always said the most important thing is keeping our kids safe," the superintendent said. "You can't teach them if they aren't safe or if they don't feel safe."

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