UPDATE: In response to community concerns regarding the Ooltewah assault case, Hamilton County school board members are now getting guidance from a diverse group of citizens before changing school board policies.

Dr. Greg Martin, District 3 Representative for the Hamilton County School Board and Chairman of its Policy Committee, says he has created a Special Citizen’s Advisory Committee that will assist the School Board with a comprehensive review of its policies and procedures concerning Discrimination, Harassment/Hazing, Bullying/Intimidation, Field Trips, Extracurricular Activities and related matters in our public schools.

"We're all trying to do the same thing, that's to get these children raised in a healthy, educated, productive way as much as we can," said Hamilton County Juvenile Court Judge Robert Philyaw

Seven strangers, from seven different walks of life, were chosen by school board members to help strengthen policies and procedures at Hamilton County schools.
Among the newly formed citizen's committee are parents, volunteers, a coach, and members of local advocacy groups.

The committee will include the following community and education leaders:

  • Garrick Hall, Wrestling Coach, Hixson High School – Chairman of the Committee
  • Wayne Brown, President, Bridge-n-the-Gap
  • Grant Crosslin, Community Volunteer
  • Everlina Holmes, UnifiED
  • Judge Rob Philyaw, Hamilton County Juvenile Court
  • Marcus Perez, Owner of Elite Behavior Analysis
  • Lee Rogers, Parent and Community Volunteer

The group's main focus is to look at preventing discrimination, harassment, bullying, and intimidation,. Something Judge Philyaw does daily, while working with children in need of rehabilitation.
His experiences, and recommendations to the school board, might be different than Committee Chair Garrick Hall.

"I live the policies that will be set aside everyday with the students," Hall said.

Coach Hall has been a teacher and wrestling coach at Hixson High School for more than 10 years.  He wants to make sure the policies are realistic, for students, teachers, and coaches.

"I can bring a perspective that maybe the other professionals in the community who will be in this group, maybe even thought of," Hall said.

The public is also invited to address the Board on this issue during one of its next two public meetings at 5:00 on January 14 and 5:30 on January 21 in the Board Room of the Central Office at 3074 Hickory Valley Road.  

Dr. Martin stated, “During the past three weeks, I have listened to people across Hamilton County raise concerns about providing an environment where all of our students feel safe and secure, whether they are in our public schools or participating in an offsite extracurricular activity.  Forming this Special Citizen’s Advisory Committee is the first of several actions that I hope will reassure parents and the community overall that the School Board is taking the necessary steps to address this issue so a similar event does not happen again in our school system.”

Dr. Martin continued, “I believe our school system is best served when we have input from professionals inside the system and people who work outside of the school system but have children in our public schools.   I am grateful for the willingness of all of these people to serve the public for the greater good of our community, and I look forward to reviewing their final recommendations on changes that need to be made in our policies and procedures.”

The next public meeting for Board’s Policy Committee is scheduled for 5:00pm January 14th at 3074 Hickory Valley Road.