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More Richmond County school faculty involved in safety efforts

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A greater number of faculty members are getting involved in Richmond County school searches this year, and officials say they're making schools more secure.

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Sego Middle School faculty members search students' backpacks. Members of the Richmond County school safety department were at the school performing student searches Friday.   Jackie Ricciardi/Staff
Jackie Ricciardi/Staff
Sego Middle School faculty members search students' backpacks. Members of the Richmond County school safety department were at the school performing student searches Friday.

"Now, we've got the complete participation of faculty," said school safety Lt. Richard Roundtree. "Before, you may have had some reservation from faculty."

Roundtree said that when a student search is planned for a middle or high school, his department coordinates with the principal and requests several faculty members to be ready to assist school safety officers.

He said students first go through wanding by school officers and then enter a second search area done by faculty. The bonus of having faculty members assist, he said, is that they don't need probable cause to search a student's bookbag, as safety officers do.

School safety has been in the spotlight after a shooting last week at a Littleton, Colo., middle school, which is less than three miles from where the Columbine High School massacre took place nearly 11 years ago.

In the Littleton case, The Associated Press has reported that a 32-year-old gunman began firing on students from the school's parking lot, wounding two.

Roundtree said that so far this year in Richmond County there hasn't been a single case of a gun on campus. He said there have been only a few incidents of pocket knives and brass knuckles found.

Roundtree said he feels the local school system's safety efforts have helped deter shooting incidents. For one thing, all middle and high schools have an assigned officer who is armed and has arresting powers.

That officer, he said, patrols inside and outside the school to make sure no one suspicious is on campus.

Roundtree said all exterior doors except main entrances are supposed to stay locked, and visitors to schools should check in at the main office prior to walking through the school. He said teachers and students know to question anyone walking the halls without a visitor's pass.

Mary Jane Anderson-Wiley, a counseling professor at Augusta State University, said there are several measures school systems can take to lessen the chance of school violence. She said the U.S. Department of Education's recommendations include: educating students and school workers to recognize early warning signs of someone who might show troubling behavior; getting counseling help for children who experience difficulties; implementing a violence prevention and response plan; teaching students effective problem-solving and conflict-resolution skills; and creating mentoring programs and bully-free schools.

Ultimately, Anderson-Wiley said a school might still experience a crisis situation, but "the point is to reduce the risk of that happening."

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OIC
25
Points
OIC 03/01/10 - 06:40 am
0
0
A bit of advice. Let the

A bit of advice. Let the teachers do the wanding. If a public safety officer is involved in any of the process then the teachers that assist them may be considered agents working on their behalf.

disssman
6
Points
disssman 03/01/10 - 07:41 am
0
0
So what happened to the kids

So what happened to the kids with the knives and brass knuckles? That should be the story. But no, we will make it dreadful for the good kids to attend, that way we aren'y picking on someone who needs an education whether they know it or not.

LEO1997
0
Points
LEO1997 03/01/10 - 07:54 am
0
0
Good point OIC, I was going

Good point OIC, I was going to say the same thing.

curly123053
5378
Points
curly123053 03/01/10 - 07:54 am
0
0
There should not and would

There should not and would not be a problem with officers checking student's bookbags if not for the ACLU (American Communist Liberation Union). Anything a student brings on campus should be subject to a search, whether performed by a teacher or officer. The need to prove probable cause to search anything on a school campus is a bunch of bull to me regardless of what it is and who it belongs to. It is sad that we have sat on our hands as Americans while a bunch of liberal communistic lawyers have made it hard for our law enforcers to do their jobs.

deekster
24
Points
deekster 03/01/10 - 08:11 am
0
0
Anything but "instruction in

Anything but "instruction in math, English Grammar, writing, science, geography, history and civics." Now we have to train teachers in "law enforcement techniques" and "Miranda Rights". I smell another "lawsuit". What a "revolting mess of non sense". The "parents" should be doing these searches.

LEO1997
0
Points
LEO1997 03/01/10 - 08:18 am
0
0
I agree, we wouldn't have the

I agree, we wouldn't have the issues with searches that we have if it weren't for the ACLU. But when it comes to prosecution for illegal items found, then that's a whole other ball of wax. What happens when drugs are found, when the guise of the search was for weapons? Then a good lawyer (and I use that term loosely) could argue that the teacher was directed to look for drugs, as well, instead of keeping the scope of the search for weapons only. It starts to look like a fishing expedition rather than an operation in the interest of public safety. In Columbia County (where I now work), many parents of students will pay high dollar for lawyers to get their precious angels out of a drug conviction. Maybe a drug case made could still be won, but it is just less of a headache when proper procedures are followed and chain of custody is not perceived to be compromised.

deekster
24
Points
deekster 03/01/10 - 08:21 am
0
0
"Welcome to Dysfunction

"Welcome to Dysfunction Junction". Trains everywhere!!! We even have an sweet "Uncle Joe".

mary dits
2
Points
mary dits 03/01/10 - 11:27 am
0
0
"Now, we've got the complete

"Now, we've got the complete participation of faculty," said school safety Lt. Richard Roundtree. "Before, you may have had some reservation from faculty."Faculty members don't need probable cause to search a student's bookbag. Roundtree said that so far this year in Richmond County there hasn't been a single case of a gun on campus. All middle and high schools have an assigned officer who is armed and has arresting powers.

jamesaaronsnow
0
Points
jamesaaronsnow 03/01/10 - 02:44 pm
0
0
There has been zero cases of

There has been zero cases of a gun on campus? What? In Richmond County? Imagine that. The media and public sterotype is wrong. About time.

Cadence
219
Points
Cadence 03/01/10 - 03:28 pm
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Searching for guns and drugs?

Searching for guns and drugs? When did the school system become the prison system? I guess it is still preparing students for their futures, just in a different way.

corgimom
38470
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corgimom 03/01/10 - 08:22 pm
0
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School officials are not

School officials are not bound by the same 4th Amendment laws as police officers. They don't need probable cause, and they are allowed to seize anything that is brought onto school property that is prohibited. When they conduct searches, they aren't looking for one specific thing; they are looking for drugs, guns, and anything else prohibited. As long as everyone is searched, then it meets the laws. Every student has to sign a paper stating that they have read the student handbook and agree to abide by it. That's the difference. Schools are not the private property of students, and it is clearly stated in all the handbooks that the school is allowed to inspect their lockers and backpacks at any time.

hickstreetlane
0
Points
hickstreetlane 03/01/10 - 09:36 pm
0
0
Oval-oak is a joke. He was a

Oval-oak is a joke. He was a regular deputy and a demoted investigator, he has no idea about policing in a school environment. Oval-oak is only stating what has been going on for years. How do you think a handful of officers checked so many students as they coming in the door; THE TEACHERS HAVE ALWAYS HELPED. Oval-oak makes it sound like the teachers JUST STARTED doing this. He has no clue. That is what you get when you put someone in charge whose has never worked in a school as a school police officer. When he was RCSO Investigator and you brought him a school case that was to be handled by RCSO, he did not want to be bothered. Being Bedden's Buddy is how he got the job. Bedden wanted Oval-oak as chief but could not get that, so he slipped him in as the "Security" #3 man. Now Bedden's going to leave. Bedden is going to be paid $500,000 in Texas with all the supplements, so Oval-oak's buddy will be gone. BTW, when does the new chief for Security start. Is he certified by Georgia POST i think not. I believe one of the requirements for being in that position was to be certified. Oh that rite Bedden was able to do what he wanted, except get a pay raise! Well as a RCSS Employee, I cant get a raise, promoted but I can get furloughed and get my pay cut too. Thanks Bedden and Company.

Esther_Locascio
0
Points
Esther_Locascio 03/01/10 - 11:09 pm
0
0
I'm the author of a fictional

I'm the author of a fictional book about a kid "haunted" by middle school. In the Littleton, CO middle school shooting, shots were fired from the parking lot by a 32-year-old gunman. A student search for weapons on campus would've made no difference.

hickstreetlane
0
Points
hickstreetlane 03/02/10 - 06:18 am
0
0
School searches are about

School searches are about useless anyway. They find candy, cellphones, ipod, mp3, players etc. Very seldom do the find anything dangerous. Searches are "make the parent feel good" and "media" tools. If a someone wants to bring a weapon to school, they will find a way. I cannot think of a school shooting that would have been prevented with similar searches. Publicizing these things only put potential shooters on notice on how to avoid getting caught.

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