Copper Basin High responds to suicides with increased safety mea - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Copper Basin High responds to suicides with increased safety measures

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School Resource Officer Robbie Cole talks with a student School Resource Officer Robbie Cole talks with a student
COPPERHILL, TN (WRCB) -

Four weeks into the new school year, Copper Basin High School seems like any other, as hallways buzz with activity. Still, the school, and Polk County feel the effects of tragedy.  In March, 18-year old Patrick Griffin committed suicide.  Two months later, 13-year-old Jazmine Harris did the same.  Their friends and families said they had been bullied at school.

Superintendent James Jones knew something had to be done.  He and principal David Turner designed programs, hired speakers, and placed extra counselors on campus.

Also, for the first time, a school resource officer is patrolling the halls every day.  Polk County Officer Robbie Cole is very visible. Officials say the addition of officers in all county schools was in the works prior to the suicides, as Sheriff Steve Ross began working on the program in 2014.

The students know their school's reputation is at stake. They say they have to be the ones to instill change.

Staff members say they also have room to improve.  They admit, following up on student-reported problems must be a higher priority.

Superintendent Jones says last year's tragedies won't be forgotten, or swept under the rug.  They're the driving force in an effort to change the school's culture.  "This needs to be talked about, and we need to make changes, which we are doing.  It should be done," Jones said.

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