The Long County Board of Education at its January meeting addressed the topic of school-shooting prevention.
Long County Emergency Management Agency Director Darrell Ballance brought several suggestions on the matter to the board. Ballance said that with recent school shootings, he expects federal funding to be available for programs and additional staffing. Currently, the school system employs one resource officer, and Ballance does not believe that’s sufficient to protect all three schools.
Ballance also recommended that the board create and adopt a policy that establishes a plan of action — should an incident occur — and require that all employees read and sign it. He said he is available to help with any training and recommended a training exercise for the school with local law-enforcement officials.
Superintendent Dr. Robert Waters told Ballance that, since the Sandy Hook, Conn., school shooting, he and the board had met three times to discuss ways to prevent an incident like that from occurring in the school system, but that they appreciated any input that he might offer.
Also during the meeting, the board recognized three employees who had retired: Cynthia Doomes, 35 years; Francis Mobley, 19 years; and Peggy Kinder, 13 years. They were given plaques for their service.
“Miss Francis (Mobley) never had a frown on her face, she always went above and beyond … and Miss Francis, I’ve been missing you ever day since you left,” LCHS Principal Scotty Hattaway said.
Commenting on Doomes and Kinder, Smiley Elementary Principal David Edwards said he was sad to see them leave.
“If I had to pick a word for both of them, it would be ‘dependable,’” he said.
Construction manager Bill Vickery gave a progress report on the new high school. He said that the project is on schedule for the school to be ready for the 2013-14 academic year. After the report, board Chairman Dempsey Golden said that it is important for the citizens of the county to understand that the school is being paid for without having to increase any taxes.
In other business:
• Waters reported that Athletic Director Karen Swindell was chosen as the this year’s Region 2-AA athletic director of the year.
• At the request of member Florence Baggs, the board approved additional lighting between the high-school gymnasium and the parking lot.
• Long County Commission Chairman Bobby Walker informed the board that the county would assist in any way that it could to establish the deceleration lane in front of the new high school.
• Finance officer Bridget Welch said there are 185 more students in the system, reflecting a 7-percent increase from last year. She said that with this growth, the system could expect an increase in the budget request next year for the additional cost in staffing.