Clayton County Public Schools spokesman David Waller announced last week that the Clayton County Sheriff’s Department has informed the school system it does not have the manpower to continue to provide school resource officers for the county’s nine public high schools and 20 middle schools for the new school year beginning in August.
In Clayton, each high school has two resource officers while one resource officer is assigned to each middle school.
“However,” Waller said, “some confusion has developed that we do not have our regular sheriff’s department resource officers in place at our schools as resource officers for the remainder of this school year,’ he said.
“This is false because we do have our sheriff department resource officers in place through the close of this school year,” Waller added.
However, he said, the school board has decided to contract with an outside security firm for the remainder of this school year which will provide additional security in the school system.
“Security personnel from this firm will be in our schools this year and report any suspicious activity to our school resource officers who will be on our campuses through the remainder of the school year,” Waller explained.
Clayton County Interim School Superintendent Luvenia Jackson, Ed.S., has proposed to the board the formation of a Clayton public schools safety office.
“Although the school’s security personnel would be employees of Clayton County Public School District, they would be fully trained and licensed police officers and work directly for our school district,” Waller said.
The cost to the Clayton school system, which would include security office startup costs, administration, security uniforms, benefits and other necessities, would be around $2.5 million, he explained.
“However, that amount,” Waller added, “could be tweaked somewhat.”
He added that when one goes back and considers what the school system is now paying the Clayton County Sheriff’s Department for school resource officers, whom the school system has no control over, a school system security program is an idea to consider, Waller added.
Having its own security force would give Clayton County Public Schools complete control over all aspects of school security, he explained.