During a recent meeting of the Cherokee County Board of Education, Shaver announced his intention to form a committee composed of educators, public officials, parents and others and asked for the board’s participation.
“I am sure you are all concerned like I am about school safety issues,” said Shaver. “I have talked to several of you over the last week or two. I wanted to come meet with you to come up with the best solution for improving our school safety.”
“My ideas of school resource officers may not be the best solution,” said Shaver. “It may not be the solution that everybody agrees is best, I am not always right on everything, but I want to have everybody involved that is involved in education and school safety. Since the schools have come back from the holidays, we have had a deputy working every day on their off days visiting the different schools. I have no money in my budget for that, we are trying to cut back.”
“I don’t know how long our commissioners will let us do that,” said Shaver. “They have tough jobs and you have tough jobs too. My concern is safety period. But I sure don’t want anything happening in Cherokee county. I don’t want anything happening in any of the schools.”
Since 2007, Shaver said he has requested funding for school resource officers.
“It has just never been something that happened,” said Shaver. “I have worked with the board in the past to get grants to fund school resource officers. I think in the future there are going to be grants available. But right now there are not. I would feel real uncomfortable not doing anything waiting for grant funding to become available.”
“Things can be done by having an officer available at the schools,” said Shaver. “It might circumvent something from happening.”
Shaver noted that the sheriff’s office has received numerous grants over the years. Appropriations, however, aren’t what they used to be with the dwindling economy both at the state and national level.
“You don’t want to leave it up to somebody else to come up with your plan,” said Shaver. “I would like to ask that one of you serve or if more than one of you want to serve, that is fine.”
Shaver noted there is more to being a resource officer and being a deputy. Resource officers, he said, must learn about school procedure and other educational requirements.
“That is your job to educate them (students),” Shaver said. “We are there to keep them safe.”
Lynn Rochester, vice chairperson, Cherokee County Board of Education said she would be happy to serve on the board.
“At this point in the world, I know resource officers have special training but if your number one goal is safety, a deputy who knows the law and is well trained,” said Rochester. “You have counselors. administrators that can work with that officer. To me, I think all parents would feel safer. As a grandparent, I would feel safer with a trained officer in the schools.”
In personnel action, the board:
-Approved the certified placement of Belinda Tillery as a Math teacher at Gaylesville School.
-Approved a leave of absence for Randy Smith, assistant principal at Sand Rock School, who will be on military leave of absence Jan. 14 and Jan. 22-25.
In other business, the board:
-Approved bills for payment.
-Approved out of state travel for Ricky Mackey and Larry Walker to attend UTI Technical Training in Mooresville, N.C. Jan. 25-27 at no cost to the board.
The next meeting of the Cherokee County Board of Education is Thursday, Feb. 7, beginning at 6 p.m.