Students express concern over video

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Troup Independent School District trustees are taking steps to improve security at school campuses. The position of a full-time school resource officer (SRO) for the elementary campus was approved at the Monday, April 9, meeting of the school board. Other measures are also being considered.

“We’ve had the police department come and do a security assessment and give us some feedback and give input on what they felt we could do to make our campuses more secure,” stated Tammy Jones, TISD superintendent.

One of the items the district is looking into is a system in which visitors must enter through doors that have electronically controlled locks. Another item is perimeter fencing.

“Hopefully by the end of week we will have the quotes that Mr. [Dewayne] Brown is getting for perimeter fencing for fencing the outside areas as another layer of increased security for our campuses,” Jones said.

While the district is working on preventing outside threats, concern has crept into the community via a video posted online. Members of the junior varsity baseball team are seen harassing and hurling racial slurs at a student closed inside a locker despite the fact that the slurs did not apply to his race.

Though it is unknown why the student climbed into the locker of his own accord, the students involved in the incident that followed have been identified and punished, according to Jones.

Many members of the community gathered at the board meeting to express their concern over the video. The board set aside regulations regarding time limits and the number of speakers who could address any single issue and allowed everyone who wished to address the board to do so.

Along with several adults, four young ladies from the high school also spoke.

“This just hurt me so bad,” declared Ty Moon, a junior at THS. “I thought these boys that posted this were my friends. It hurt me so bad to see this and it’s sad to see a community like this just split apart like that. We’re supposed to all come together.”

Jones thanked the parents and community members for coming and apologized on behalf of the school district. She also commended the girls who addressed the board, recognizing that it couldn’t have been easy for them.

“I was made aware [of the video] over the weekend, they immediately began addressing the disciplinary issues tied to it this morning,” Jones stated. “You can rest assured it has not been swept under the carpet. We have to use this as a learning opportunity and what defines us as a community is how we handle it from this point on and what we learn from it.”

“We hear the concerns of the community and want to address those needs,” Jones further stated.

“We have a strong community,” commented Shane Jasper, TISD board president. “It isn’t always perfect, nothing really is, but it’s things like this here [community involvement] that helps our community be as strong as we are. Just your being here tonight makes me real proud.”

The board received a report from Shannon Capps regarding the WiFi connection on the activity bus. Capps stated that research showed the majority students used the internet connection for personal rather than educational reasons.

The trustees voted to approve the proposed calendar for the 2018-2019 school year, and gave Tammy Jones the authority to issue contracts for professional personnel for the months of May through August.

After executive session, the board approved the hiring of Sam Wells as a history teacher and coach on the high school campus.

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