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Lindley Estes writes about Spotsylvania County schools, King George County Schools and other issues of interest to the community.

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Deputies will visit all Spotsy schools when classes resume Wednesday

UPDATE: See the full story from today’s Free Lance-Star.

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The Spotsylvania Sheriff’s Office will have deputies checking in at all elementary schools when students return for classes Wednesday.

The Sheriff’s Office added deputies to the elementary schools before school was dismissed for the holiday break. Deputies routinely are located at the county’s middle and high schools but were added to the elementary schools in the wake of the December school shooting in Newtown, Conn., that claimed the lives of 20 children and six educators.

A Spotsylvania Sheriff’s Office deputy eats lunch with students at Brock Road Elementary School on Dec. 19.

On Wednesday, the Sheriff’s Office will rotate deputies in and out of the elementary schools, schools spokeswoman Rene Daniels said.

Spotsylvania County established a joint task force made up of school officials, the Sheriff’s Office and the County Administrator’s office after the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting.

The task force held its second meeting on New Year’s Eve and issued a statement on Tuesday. Below is the text of the statement issued to the media and parents.

JOINT TASK FORCE SETS SHORT-TERM AND LONG-TERM GOALS FOR SCHOOL SAFETY MEASURES

 

 The newly formed Joint Task Force, under the direction of the Spotsylvania Sheriff, School Superintendent, and County Administrator, met again on December 31, 2012, to debrief on recent school assessments by the Sheriff’s Office and to enhance and strengthen current safety and crisis plan implementation, which included immediate, short-term and long-term safety measures.

During the winter break, all elementary schools were assessed by the Sheriff’s Office and School Staff.  This assessment provided valuable information that will be used as the Task Force moves forward with enhancing safety measures at school buildings.  When students and staff return to school on January 2, 2013, the Sheriff’s Office will continue an enhanced presence at the Elementary schools and School Resource Officers will continue to be on site in the Middle and High schools.  Staff assignments specific to monitoring grounds and buildings will be in place at all elementary schools.  Increased communications measures will be in place.  Additionally, enhanced staff training provided by the Sheriff’s Office will begin this week.

The Task Force is also working to develop a volunteer program that will enable citizens and parents to help monitor grounds and buildings and provide additional eyes and ears at the schools.  More details are forthcoming.

Other items discussed included County and School staff partnering to explore potential grant opportunities that might assist in securing additional funding for the safety enhancements recommended by the Task Force and to provide additional school staff training in conjunction with the Sheriff’s Office and first responders such as fire and rescue.

Members of the Joint Task Force include Dr. Scott Baker, Spotsylvania School Superintendent, Spotsylvania Sheriff Roger Harris, and Doug Barnes, Spotsylvania County Administrator, as well as staff from each entity including fire and rescue and principals. The purpose of the Joint Task Force is to streamline communications between entities and create efficiencies in the review, development, and implementation of safety measures.  The group will meet on an ongoing basis to discuss the progress of school safety enhancements.  The next Joint Task Force meeting is planned for early January.

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