School safety improvements in Hamilton County

HAMILTON COUNTY, Tenn. (WDEF) — In light of threats, school officials, members of law enforcement and health professionals in Hamilton County are thinking of ways to keep students safe.

When visitors walk into East Side Elementary School, they get buzzed in and then have to hand over their ID.

With their newly installed visitor monitoring system from Raptor Technologies, the ID is scanned and any red flags will pop up on the computer. If there are no problems a visitor pass is printed out.

The Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office is also thinking about how to keep students safe.

“There are not any simple solutions, there are some that are less costly than others. But at the end of the day, we have got to devise a plan that is going to protect the next generation of our adults and that is our children,” Sheriff Jim Hammond said.

The Hamilton County Sheriff says there needs to be more school resource officers.

“In this county we’ve got about 78, 79 schools. I have only got about 30 schools that are covered by SROs. That would be very expensive, about four million dollars to equip every school. So I am looking to see what the federal government, state government and local government can do to way in to assist with that,” Sheriff Jim Hammond said.

When an incident or threat happens, mental health professionals say it can be hard on students.

“It can certainly affect how secure they feel at their school so what is important is for their school to ensure that they are keeping students safe and to take appropriate measures to show that they are keeping safety a number one priority,” said Dr. Katie Goudelocke, with UT Erlanger Behavioral Health.

Mental health experts, school officials and law enforcement all say safety should be top of mind.

“So we all need to come together to help address this critical issue,” Dr. Goudelocke said.

Back at East side, administrators appreciate the new visitor screening system.
All Hamilton County Public Schools are scheduled to have the program active by the end of April.

On Thursday, Governor Bill Haslam announced his office was creating a task force to address issues of school safety.

Categories: Local News

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