Bradley County Schools Director Johnny McDaniel Explains Safety Protocol To Commission

Tuesday, December 18, 2012 - by Tonya Brantley

Commissioner Charlotte Peak-Jones invited Director of Bradley County Schools Johnny McDaniel to address the Bradley County Commission during the voting session Monday afternoon on the school safety protocol. Commissioner Peak-Jones said, “After the tragic events last Friday at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut, I had a few concerned parents call wanting to know what the protocol was for the safety of our children in our schools.”

Mr.

McDaniel explained, “We take our responsibility very serious every day. When an incident like this occurs, it really causes us to reflect on what we are doing and what we have in place and it makes us be more vigilant as we go about our day to day activities. We have had a safe schools grant since 2006 to help move Bradley county forward as far as safety and planning for these kinds of events. We received a REMS Grant two years ago, Readiness and Emergency Management for Schools. Because of that grant, we have a safe schools officer that works part time for Bradley County and part time for Cleveland City. We share that officer. They go to our schools and look at our plan and help us know how we can improve safety measures across the system. That officer’s name is Scotty Hernandez.

“At all of our schools, we ask all of our visitors to sign in at the office. We have check in procedures and excellent safety at all of our schools. We have tried to provide safe and secure entryways like that at Sandy Hook Elementary. As you heard through reports, he actually shot his way into the school, but that initial barrier slowed him down.”

“In Bradley County, we do have SROs (School Resource Officers) at all of our schools with the exception of our alternative school, Goal Academy. We would like to have a safe secure entryway in all of our schools. Valley View Elementary has that. We did that when we remodeled. There is only one way in and one way out. Park View Elementary has that also. We are working on that for all of our schools.

“We have ID badges for all school personnel. Faculty and staff are required to stop anyone in the building without a badge. That is an important feature for us for adults who enter the buildings. We have safety procedures in place for emergency situations. We have safety teams that review procedures. That concern is ongoing. We do drills where we practice lockdowns and practice how we would respond. Along with the Emergency Management Agency (EMA), we practice response and emergency plans. Those are important things so first responders know where to go in our buildings and know our buildings. That is a key to quick response.”

Safe Schools Officer Scotty Hernandez addressed the commission explaining his role in keeping schools safe. He said, “I have a very interesting position with the city and the county because I am split between the two. It started from the REMS Grant and holistically from the Homeland Security Act. So, the trickle-down effect was how do we implement that into our businesses and schools thru NEMS, the National Emergency Management System?

“We have plans in place for all hazards and emergencies including active shooters. Unfortunately, we have to have those these days. We plan, organize and equip. We train and exercise those plans and then we evaluate those plans and re-implement those plans as needed. We work in close conjunction with the sheriff’s office and with the city police and with community partners. Part of my job is I go to the schools and ask questions and evaluate surroundings through what we call Crime Prevention through Environment and Design. We see how things work, how traffic flows and how students flow throughout the buildings. We put in different controls where they need to be implemented. It’s an ongoing effort. In older buildings, it can be a challenge as we face older buildings with new technology.”

Dan Glasscock, secondary supervisor and contact for the SRO program, addressed the commission explaining, “I coordinate all the SROs with the school system. As Mr. McDaniel mentioned, one of the concerns we have is our alternative school. It really warrants police presence there so that is a concern for us. SROs work in conjunction with our schools. They are not our employees, but it has been a great working relationship. We could use some more personnel. I think this is a concern. We haven’t had a review of that. However, we have not heard any concerns of that this year. Our primary concern is our SROs availability in the buildings.”

Commissioner Peak Jones asked, “Currently in our schools we cannot carry handguns if you have a permit, so you cannot protect yourself on school property, is that correct?” Mr. McDaniel responded, “That is correct. We have an employee that is a former police officer that is well trained and even he is not allowed to do that. I am a proud gun permit holder and I do not carry my gun according to the law on any school campus. It would be interesting to see if they could implement a way to provide people who are competently trained. I’d certainly be in favor of looking at that. It seems that if those schools have been able to defend themselves, some of that might have been stopped and maybe they would have been able save more lives.”

In other business, County Finance Director Lynn Burns updated the commission on the current audit report. The full report is available for review on the county website at www.Bradleyco.net.

A motion was unanimously passed to appoint seven members to a workhouse study committee. A resolution to establish a Health Wellness and Quality of Life fund award and a motion to include work session minutes with voting session minutes also passed. A proclamation to honor Constable Ira Cox passed unanimously along with several items in the consent agenda.

The Bradley County Commission will hold its next voting session meeting on Jan. 7 at 7 p.m.



Haslam Appoints David Rausch As Director Of TBI

Governor Bill Haslam on Monday announced the appointment of David B. Rausch as director of the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI).   Mr. Rausch, 55, has served as chief of police for the Knoxville Police Department (KPD) since 2011, overseeing an agency of more than 500 employees, including some 400 sworn police officers. He joined the KPD in 1993 and rose through ... (click for more)

Latest Bradley County Arrest Report

Click  here  for the latest Bradley County arrest report. (click for more)

Will Chattanooga Miss Another Reinvestment Opportunity?

In April, First Tennessee Bank and the National Community Reinvestment Coalition announced an agreement on a $3.9 billion reinvestment plan for economic development in low to moderate income communities under the 1977 Community Reinvestment Act. The Chattanooga Times Free Press soon followed with an article reviewing the plan in depth. The plan presented Chattanooga, as well as ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Are We Like Nazis?

Four years after William Styron’s best-seller ‘Sophie’s Choice,’ had achieved the highest height of an atrocity that the literary world had known at the time, a little girl who was birthed the same year as the book (1979) was cast as Meryl Streep’s daughter in the movie. The four-year-old blonde knew nothing about evil, not to mention the Holocaust, but she became enamored with ... (click for more)

Lookouts Break Out Their Bats In Saturday's Rain Shortened Game Beating Barons, 12-2

Birmingham AL --  On a wet night at Regions Field, the Birmingham Barons (32-36) fell to the Chattanooga Lookouts (36-33) by a 12-2 score on Saturday night in a rain-shortened contest. The Birmingham loss evens up the five-game series at two games each with one game to play in the first half. Rain and the Lookouts were the winners on Saturday night in Birmingham as the ... (click for more)

CFC Wins 2-0 At Inter Nashville FC

Chattanooga FC remained undefeated in NPSL play Wednesday night, beating Inter Nashville FC 2-0 in Nashville.   David Valenciano had CFC's first goal late in the first half.  Jose "Zeca" Ferraz scored the second goal minutes before the final whistle.  This is the fourth road game in the last two weeks and they play their final rode game at New ... (click for more)