SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) - What makes schools safer? To find that answer, Savannah Chatham County Public Schools are rewriting their crisis plans and running extra drills. Before they finalize their safety strategies, they want everyone in the school district on the same page.
A School Safety Task Force was created to troubleshoot violence in the school district and strengthen security. The third of four meetings was held Tuesday night at New Hampstead High School. If you remember, viral video circulated social media depicting three fights in one day at the school. These fights happened within the first month of the 2018-2019 school year.
“It’s great for those people to come out. That’s one of the reasons we picked this side of town is so they could come out and voice their concerns," said Justin Pratt, SCCPSS, Emergency Manager. "I know they hear a lot of things their children come home and talk about that sometimes we don’t hear, so being able to hear that feedback is really great.”
Pratt wants the public to know the meetings are for their benefit. Each session has already helped clear up some confusion and take suggestions for further security improvements.
“A lot of questions were asked about things that we have going on, things that we’re implementing that people just didn’t know we’re doing,” Pratt said. “We’re getting additional school resource officers, additional school safety aids, and we’ve got the funding to purchase metal detectors for all of the schools now.”
Ivan Cohen attended Tuesday night’s meeting. Cohen doesn’t have a child in school, but says his taxpayer money is funding these safety improvements, and he’s here to see it through.
“They’re implementing procedures here that I believe will minimize that kind of threat,” Cohen said.
Especially when Cohen watched the videos and news reports of the violence at New Hampstead High this year, he says he’s glad to see his hard earned money put into action.
“It’s good to see that they’re being proactive rather than being reactive after this has taken place,” he said.
The final meeting is scheduled for Thursday at 6 p.m. at the A.B. Williams Elementary School. This meeting is a make-up meeting previously cancelled due to Hurricane Florence.
SCCPSS says the district will administer an online survey at the conclusion of the meeting in September for those who could not attend.