Require Schools to hire Special Resource Officer instead of arming Teachers.
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As parents of students in Georgia Public Schools we would like to see school board s hire School Resource Officers instead of arming teachers. Based on the policy being proposed by the Jefferson City School Board the school board would have say in who is chosen to be armed and they can also choose which of the Jefferson City Police Chief’s recommendations to follow. Other schools have similar plans being discussed at their school board meetings. Our teachers should focus their efforts on educating our children and fostering a love of lifetime learning. They should not have the additional stress of keeping a firearm safe in their classroom or having to decide to open their locked down classroom to fire at an intruder, much less to shoot at a student who they may have taught.
In Jefferson Dr. Jackson has not offered any clarity in the roll out of the program that the Board of Education plans to vote on at their May 10th School Board Meeting at 4:00 pm at Jefferson High School’s William Duncan Performing Arts Center. In order to speak at these meetings you are required to email the Board of Education two weeks prior to be considered to be added to the agenda. We would like for any school board considering this action to include a community forum prior to voting on an issue like this.
For Jefferson City School families there is no way to see the minutes of the meeting where this was discussed by school board members until those minutes are approved during the session where this will be voted on. So far there are no additional plans for a public forum to be held where parents, faculty, and staff can answer questions to be better understand what the School Board is proposing. This just drives home the need for transparency and community input before proposing such policies.
School Resource Officers are required to have the following training and skill set. These skills and requirements are essential in handling active shooter situations and de-escalation of a suspect.
• Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal or Juvenile Justice or related area from an accredited college or university preferred.
• High school diploma or GED equivalent required.
• Minimum of three (3) years of military, security, and/or law enforcement experience is required.
• Previous experience working with security issues, safety concerns, and/or social work with high risk students preferred.
• Ability to demonstrate the level of proficiency necessary to perform the duties of the specified position.
CERTIFICATES, LICENSES, PERMITS:
• Georgia Peace Officers Standard and Training (POST) PBLE Certification prior to employment required.
• Annual Firearms Qualification required.
According to the current policy these would NOT be requirements for arming teachers and staff in the Jefferson City School system.
As the policy stands, the requirements for arming staff are vague and follow the very minimum rules set in the state law, often with no further insight or elaboration. The training standards, storage and circumstances that would warrant the use of the deadly force are vague and left to the complete discretion of the Superintendent. The training standards are much less than that of a professional Law Enforcement Officer, and only briefly prescribed in the policy paper which can be found here: https://bit.ly/2HokUHI The method of judging suitability of the teacher for this duty is also not stated. All implementation information once approved seems to be blocked from any open records request and the names of those approved to carry weapons in the classroom will not be public, although secrets travel quickly in the school setting and this would be common knowledge to any student. The lack of clarity is stated by the administration as a plus, to make sure any potential shooters would have less information about the security of the school, but would make it more difficult for responding officers, and for those that may detect a deteriorating mental composition in someone that was authorized to classroom carry. The vague rules discount the real day to day situations teachers with an already often chaotic and challenging position would need to deal with while also contending with safely storing and caring a firearm while carrying out their duties in the classroom. Safe storage standards are also only prescribed as ‘not easily accessible to students” if not worn on the body. This is not adequate to define a space that would keep out a determined thief or malicious student.
We want to ensure that our students are safe in their schools, we also want to ensure that staff and faculty are safe and not faced with the added burden of using deadly force to secure our school buildings. Hiring a Special Resource Officer for each school would assist students in having positive attitudes towards Police Officers and reduce their anxiety if they know they could be in a classroom with an armed teacher.
Jefferson Residents can contact the Jefferson City School Board and their School Board Rep with the information below. Your School Board District aligns with your City Council Members district. If you are not in Jefferson please visit your school districts website and click on their Board of Education and you should be able to access all minutes and agendas so you can see if your school district is planning something similar.
Jefferson City Board Of Education Office: 706-367-2880
Superintendent: Dr. John Jackson firstname.lastname@example.org
Associate Superintendent: Dr. Donna McMullan email@example.com
Board Chair Member At Large: Mr. Ronnie Hopkins firstname.lastname@example.org
Board Vice Chair District 3: Mr. Willie Hughey Hugh1939@windstream.net
Board Member District 5: Mrs. Guy Dean Benson email@example.com
Board Member District 4: Mr. Darrell Crow firstname.lastname@example.org
Board Member District 1: Mrs. Angela D’Zamko email@example.com
Board Member District 2: Mr. Brantley Porter firstname.lastname@example.org
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