The Bradley County Board of Education on Thursday held a closed-door session on school safety and security. Officials said the meeting was focused on the current level of security measures in place by the Bradley County School district and what direction the district needed to head to further improve or add to those measures.
Capt. James Bradford of the Bradley County Sheriff's Office said, "The Board was briefed by Safety and Security Specialist Scotty Hernandez on district emergency operations plans with special emphasis placed on mitigation/prevention, preparedness, response, and recovery actions. The briefing also covered an assessment of security strengths, weaknesses, opportunities for improvement and potential threats to the district.
"The briefing concluded with where the district used to be regarding physical and intangible security measures (e.g. employee training) and where the district currently is in improvement projects.
"Examples were given such as Prospect Elementary School and Oak Grove Elementary School’s improved front entrances demonstrating continual improvement efforts. The floor was then open for discussion from the school board members.
"Members of the school board inquired about the needs of the district as well as individual school needs and discussed options for how those needs could be met. Captain Dennis Goins and Sheriff Eric Watson provided insight into how the Sheriff’s Office could help provide extra P.O.S.T. certified personnel and what training could be delivered to support the school district’s needs. While not being a comprehensive list, other topics of discussion focused on mental health, updating school security technologies, training, access control, and visitor management.
"By the conclusion of the meeting, several actionable items were in motion. Personnel from the Bradley County School district will update a cost analysis of needed programs, technologies, and human resources for future budgeting purposes and will provide that information to the County for possible additional funding.
"Director of Schools Dr. Linda Cash proposed that each school will hold community meetings to address public concerns and involve them in supporting the security of our district. Then, additionally the school district will work closely with the Bradley County Sheriff’s Office to explore the idea of adding P.O.S.T. certified sheriff’s deputies to critical places within the school district. The board meeting was productive and many aspects of security were discussed.
"Every board member was deeply concerned considering the recent Florida tragedy and was ready to help with the challenges that face our school district. Everyone involved in the board meeting agreed to work together, reach out to the community, continue involving our emergency response agencies, and strive for improvements in order to provide our community’s children with the safest and best educational experience that can be delivered."