In the wake of the horrific school shootings in Parkland, Florida, Rutherford County Mayor candidate Tina Jones called on the Rutherford County School Board along with Sheriff Mike Fitzhugh to conduct a county-wide safety assessment of all schools – public and private.
“Nothing is more important than the safety and security of our children,” Jones said in a statement. “While we may have good security protocols in place for our schools, we need to make sure that they are actually being followed and determine if other ways of securing our schools should be implemented. We need to ACT rather than REACT.”
Jones said that the assessment and review should focus on two critical areas: whether access to the schools is properly limited; and whether the security systems that are in place are operational.
“We are all encouraged to regularly check the batteries in our home smoke detectors,” Jones noted, adding:
This safety assessment will enable us to do the same thing for our schools and should be an annual process moving forward.
We also need to determine whether we have a sufficient number of School Resource Officers (SROs) in place, particularly as our student populations are growing so rapidly, and how we handle fill-ins for those officers when they are sick or on leave to insure that they are all adequately trained and supported.
I have full confidence that our school officials and law enforcement community are committed to protecting our schools and children. However, doing a full and complete assessment NOW just makes sense. It is definitely preferable to conducting a review regarding ‘what went wrong’ and ‘how could we have prevented it’ AFTER some tragic incident or deadly shooting has occurred.
Tina Jones has served on the Rutherford County Commission for 12 years. She is one of four candidates vying for the position, along with Republican State Senator Bill Ketron, Republican Allen Randall, and Heather Brown, who declined to identify with a Party on her filing paperwork.