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Safety concerns come up at Coffee County school board meeting

Posted on Tuesday, January 15, 2013 at 2:16 pm

Coffee County’s School Board spent the end of its meeting Monday discussing school-safety issues with Director of Schools Dr. LaDonna McFall and school principals in attendance.

In light of the Dec. shooting in Newtown, Conn. and a threat made against Central High School last week, school safety was the peak of interest at Monday’s regularly scheduled meeting.

“I wanted to talk to the board and everyone here [about safety],” McFall said as she began her director’s report. “We are not immune to threats and safety issues. We saw last week it can happen here. Luckily that had no merit but it easily could have.”

McFall informed the board that she has met and performed exercises going over situations with school principals. She has also had contact with area law enforcement.

“The day before we left for Christmas break, I asked [Coffee County] Sheriff [Steve] Graves, the city police department and the director of homeland security [Allen Lendley] to all get together in a room. We talked about cooperation between all the groups and expectations,” explained McFall. “What came out of that meeting is that we were not 100 percent prepared. Not as prepared as we can be. I’m not sure you ever can be.

“The Sheriff and I have talked several times and at our in-service the sheriff’s department and the city police department talked to our teachers and administrators.”

Some school board members had questions about school safety. Board member Freda K. Jones asked if each elementary school had double-doors at the front entrance.

“North Coffee and Hickerson do not have those. We are getting a cost estimate now and we are talking to an engineering firm to see how much that would cost us to have that done,” McFall answered …

Read the complete story inside this week’s print (Jan. 16) print edition of the Manchester Times. (Click here to subscribe to the print or online edition of the Manchester Times.)