GORDON COUNTY BOARD OF EDUCATION APPROVES MEASURES TO INCREASE SCHOOL SAFETY
To address the current and increasing needs surrounding school safety, the Board of Education approved several agenda items during its August Board meeting.
The first items consisted of two Memorandums of Understanding (MOUs): one with the Gordon County Sheriff’s Department, in partnership with the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, and the second with Fairmount Police Department. These MOUs outlined a plan for the school system to pay officers, who are employed by one of these agencies, to work as additional school resource officers while school is in session. Four additional officers will come from the Sheriff’s Department’s and/or Georgia Department of Natural Resources’ off-duty personnel, while an officer from the Fairmount Police Department will serve Fairmount Elementary School.
The Gordon County Sheriff’s Department will continue to provide the three officers that have been assigned to the schools during the last few years. However, the MOU will allow for additional officers to be paid for by the school system to be on school campuses during the officers’ off duty hours. The school system will also off-set the cost for the Fairmount Police Department to provide a dedicated officer to Fairmount Elementary School.
Another agenda item that was approved concerned a policy to allow an armed employee to be on staff at each of the high schools. This policy outlines the requirements that any personnel who are designated to carry or possess a weapon on campus be licensed by the state to carry a weapon and deemed well-trained and highly qualified by the Gordon County Sheriff’s Department, as well as the school district.
"I am pleased with this decision made by our Board of Education. The protection, safety, and security of our children is our highest priority. I look forward to another successful school year, and to continuing the mutually beneficial partnership that we enjoy with the Board and the School System," said Sheriff Mitch Ralston. Dr. Susan Remillard, Gordon County Schools’ Superintendent echoed Sheriff Ralston’s appreciation of the partnership, “Safety of our students and employees is our first priority, and we are grateful to Sheriff Ralston and his staff for the time, resources, and expertise they have provided to help us with a viable solution for keeping schools as safe as possible.”