Originally created 10/13/03

Parents, taxpayers should monitor security at area schools

Regarding your Oct. 3 front-page story, "Schools increase security": The main focus of the article was about the problems at Cross Creek High School. For those who have only recently heard about this school, Cross Creek is one of the premier high schools in Richmond County.

A few have tried to disrupt the school this year and tarnish its reputation. Do we have gang activity there? Our official spokesperson Mechelle Jordan, who works for and represents the Richmond County Board of Education, indicated only recently that there was no evidence gangs were operating in our schools. Now, Superintendent Charles Larke acknowledges there is indeed a problem with such activity.

Now, for some of the solutions to this and some of the other security-related issues with the Richmond County school system: The board's Public Safety Department is in need of either being upgraded to meet the needs of current and past problems, or replacing the present day-to-day operations with a division within the Richmond County Sheriff's Department. The budget to operate our present board's Public Safety Department can be given to such a unit within the sheriff's department. Let's be honest. With the existing problems in our schools, these trained deputies are more qualified by training and experience to handle the task. For the most part, they handle many of the school system's investigations, transports and other physical security needs.

As for parents at Cross Creek and other schools, if a problem exists at your child's school, don't wait for the school system to advise you on how the problem has escalated. Go to that school and find out what is going on and how the problem is being corrected. As a parent and taxpayer, you have an investment in your schools and should be concerned as to what is going on behind the front door.

Charles E. Byrd, Augusta


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