Area school districts meet with Congressman Carter to discuss safety

JESUP, GA (WTOC) - The school shooting in Parkland, FL has local school districts looking for ways to make your school safer.

Threats or reports of threats have hit nearly every school system in Southeast Georgia since last month's tragic shooting. Now, superintendents are meeting with Congressman Buddy Carter to figure out ways they can keep it from happening here.

The murder of 17 students and teachers has shaken school districts across the country. Leaders from a dozen area school districts talked with Congressman Carter, who asked their input on ideas that ranged from arming teachers to increasing the numbers of counselors and resource officers to installing more safety mechanisms. The group was often divided on what they thought would work.

"All these were great points from people who are 'boots on the ground.' That's what I wanted and what I need to take back with me to Washington, DC," said Congressman Carter, R, GA, First District.

Liberty County's superintendent says the threat of violence at school becomes one of their biggest challenges.

"We're thinking about 'how do we keep everybody safe, at the same time still doing what we're originally charged with, which is educating children,' said Dr. Franklin Perry, Liberty County Schools Superintendent.

He says one challenge is separating credible threats from rumors and trying to prevent panic.

"We want them to say something if they see something, but say it to the administrators," Dr. Perry said.

They also discussed increasing the number of resource officers as well as counselors and safety features in schools to protect classrooms or notify law enforcement faster, but none of those things come free.

"We need more funding to make sure our schools are as safe as they possibly can be and make sure the physical aspects are there," Congressman Carter said.

The toughest thing, some said, is planning for the unknown.

"Based on all the information, plans, and strategies, yes, I think we can deal with it. I'm not sure that we can prevent it," said Dr. Robert Waters, Long County Schools Superintendent.

Carter says he wants to work with local districts to see how they can qualify for any available federal funding to increase safety in schools here and nationwide.

Both sides agree that there's no one-size-fits-all plan that will work for every district, but all of them say they'll try as many options as they can find to keep students safe.

Congressman Carter says no one solution will keep this from happening across the board, but a combination of practices could reduce the chances.

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