Resolution approved for SSO funding in Hamilton County Schools
Interviews could begin as early as next week for upcoming school year
HAMILTON COUNTY, Tenn. (WDEF) — The Hamilton County School Board met Thursday night for its monthly meeting.
It was the first of its kind since the tragic Uvalde school shooting and Chattanooga mass shootings.
Near the end of the meeting, a resolution was presented to the board regarding school safety and the funding to make it happen.
Superintendent Dr. Justin Robertson told the board there are currently 25 campuses lacking either school resource and/or security officers in Hamilton County.
However, should this resolution receive the funding it needs, that could soon change.
Robertson says the resolution for this school year is to “pull one-time funding” from the board’s fund balance and ask the county commission to provide the rest.
The board will put up $950,000 while the commission would put up one million.
“How do we ensure at every step kids are safe?” Robertson said. “One of the steps is putting student resource officers or student safety officers in buildings. The funding and the ability to go out, recruit, train and get them ready will be there.”
Robertson says this funding would provide SSOs on every Hamilton County Schools campus.
Despite recent tragic shootings both nationwide and locally, Dr. James Corbin says this safety goal is not a new one.
“We’ve been working toward this for two years,” Corbin said. “Granted, it probably moved a little quicker because of situations that are happening, but this has been a goal of the district since I came on in 2019.”
Robertson says the local Sheriff’s Office is in support of the resolution while Mayor Jim Coppinger “had good things to say about it.”
Other board members and faculty of Hamilton County Schools were quick to say they’re on board, as well.
“I applaud the resolution that was passed tonight to add more SSOs,” said Jeanette Omarkhail of the Hamilton County Education Association. “They have provided a level of protection and the training they receive is prepared to discuss the need to build relationships with students and not to police the buildings.”
“I’m all over this,” said District 3 Board Member Joe Smith. “I think it’s a no-brainer. I’d be [really] surprised if our commissioners aren’t on it, too. We’ve got to do this. I mean, it’s just absolutely a no-brainer.”
The resolution was approved and ratified today by Robertson, Chairman of the Board Tucker McClendon, and Sherrie Ford – the Executive Secretary to the Board.
Dr. Corbin says that Hamilton County Schools is “actively looking” for SSOs and that interviews could begin as early as next week.