by Robin Kemp
The Clayton Crescent asked Clayton County Public Schools Police Chief Thomas Trawick about safety in the schools. Here’s that conversation:
Q: Can you tell me more about the recent security checks at different schools around the county?
A: The District’s Safe School Searches are proactive strategies and approaches to deter students from bringing weapons onto our campus. The searches are carried out and/or conducted in a systematic way to search every student. The School Administrators are briefed regarding the details associated with the search in an effort to provide adequate support personnel to conduct the searches. Most importantly, the increased visibility of law enforcement personnel, providing interior and exterior visibility of uniformed personnel, maximizes our efforts to secure the campus. Additionally, the searches are also in compliance with the Gun Free Schools Act.
Q: Are these specifically related to the gun incident at Jonesboro High?
A: No not necessarily; however, due to the exponential increase in gun violence in our country and the increased violence in Georgia, Clayton County Public Schools Department of Safety and Security has reinstating the District’s Safe School Searches. The unannounced and random Safe School Searches are used as a proactive approach to deter students from bringing weapons onto our campuses.
Q: Are other law enforcement agencies also involved?
A: We reached out to our municipal partners and invited them to participate in the searches if they have the resources to do so. We look forward to their participation if their call volume(s) allows that opportunity.
Q: Are you contemplating whether the schools should install walk-through metal detectors?
A: There were district level discussions regarding metal detectors in our schools for proactive random security checks for weapons. The conversation landed on securing hand held metal detectors as the most effective means of performing this function. We purchased four wands per school encompassing all schools (elementary, middle and high schools) which totals 274 wands. There are on-going conversations regarding walk-through metal detectors; however, a decision has not been made.
Q: Do you have enough wands to meet your needs?
A: Yes, we do.
Q: Have these checks recovered any weapons and, if so, how many and what kinds?
A: No weapons have been discovered thus far.
Q: To what extent are these checks related to any known or suspected gang activity, if any?
A: There has been no association with suspected gang activity.