Sumner Co. Board of Education to Push for Security Upgrades
SUMNER COUNTY, Tenn. - Like several other counties across Tennessee, the Sumner County school district is also hoping to step up security in the aftermath of the Connecticut school shooting.
At a special called meeting, the Board of Education voted unanimously to ask for funding to add 39 additional school resource officers. The changes would put an armed SRO in every school in Sumner County. Currently, the district only has 7 SROs.
"It's our obligation as a school board to do what's in the best interest of the students," said Director of Schools Dr. Del Phillips. "That is what we are going to do."
Dr. Phillips originally proposed adding 20 new SROs, but board members decided the best plan is to have one in each school.
"Having an officer present in a school will not only make students safe, but teachers concentrate on what they're doing," said Lt. Danny Hurst, the Coordinator of the School Resource Officer program.
The board also supported the idea of improving safety at school entrances. The security upgrades would include retrofitting school buildings to restrict access and increasing the visibility of office staff at entrances. Representatives from the school district are currently in the process of visiting each school and reviewing security plans, and looking for ways to make improvements.
The plan would cost $5 million dollars, plus the cost of the school resource officers. The funding has to be approved by Sumner County commissioners. No word on when commissioners will discuss the plan.
Over the summer the start of the school year was delayed while Commissioners and school board members were in the midst of a heated budget battle. School leaders hope past issues can be overlooked as they address these new concerns.