WINNSBORO — Fairfield County School Superintendent J.R. Green fielded questions last week from parents concerned about school safety and what the district would do if faced with a school shooting like the one in Newtown, Conn., last December.
The meeting, held at Kelly Miller Elementary School, was the second in a series of Town Hall meetings being sponsored by the Fairfield County School District. The purpose of the meetings is to allow the district to get to know the students and their families plus share the highlights of the district with the community.
The session began with questions that were e-mailed into the district. The first question was a concern over students being able to take their major test before winter break.
Green said taking the test after the break gave the teachers two extra weeks of lesson time, adding that the break could be used for review time for the students while home.
Green said he wanted Teachers of the Year to help develop the calendar for the school year, which would allow each teacher to bring input from their school to the table.
Many questions were geared around school safety and what the district would do if faced with a school shooting.
Green said the district is “exploring adding resource officers to the elementary school” as a safety measure. He also said the Fairfield County Sheriff’s Department is drafting a proposal to add the new resource officers.
“There is no safer place in America than our schools, even with all that has been happening,” Green said. “When you send your child to school, they are safe.”
Vernon Kennedy, executive director of Fairfield Behavioral Health and a concerned parent, said that “young people, at least from the inside, know how to act and how to behave.” But, Kennedy said, more preventive and treatment programs are needed in schools, especially when dealing with mental or behavioral issues. Unfortunately, Kennedy added, such programs are often cut.
In closing, Green said: “We will provide a safe and secure environment for our students.”
An update was given on the Extraordinary Kings mentoring program, which has expanded into the middle schools where Coach David Toney has been working with the seventh-grade and eighth-grade students.
The program slowed some at the end of 2012 while Toney and Coach Ervin Mack, also a mentor in the program, made a run for the state football championship title. Green said they are looking for a date to bring all the students together for an activity. The program is for any male student in need of a mentor.
In summing up the meeting, Green said: “Let’s project a positive light because it affects the students. We have a lot to be proud of in Fairfield County.”