The superintendent of Dalton Public Schools said parents should start seeing safety improvements within the next month.

"Our parents, staff and students provided input on safety enhancements of our building and they can be assured that we are listening," Dr. Tim Scott explained.

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"The safety of all students and the security of our schools are of utmost importance to everyone in Dalton Public Schools," Scott said. "Students cannot focus on learning and teachers cannot effectively lead classes if they do not feel safe in classrooms."A spokesperson for the school system explained that the recent incident where a shot was fired in a classroom by a teacher was a reminder that violence can happen in schools. 

Following the incident at Dalton High School, the board of education hosted a listening session. This provided the community with the opportunity to express their opinions on what safety enhancements should be made.

Debriefing sessions for district and school administrators were also held. In these sessions, school personnel had a chance to debrief with law enforcement and first responders. Dalton High School students and staff also participated.

Internal debriefing sessions with school administrators were to review protocols and procedures were also hosted by the district.

"The collective feedback from all the meetings resulted in similar requests for safety improvements that the district could consider for implementation," a school district spokesperson explained.

At a board meeting on March 28, Superintendent Tim Scott, Director of Operations Rusty Lount and Chief Financial Officer Theresa Perry presented the following safety recommendations:

  • Hiring four additional SROs
  • Add intruder door locks to all classroom doors
  • Upgrading the public address systems (intercoms) to digital systems
  • Replacing existing analog cameras with digital systems
  • Adding card access readers to more exterior doors

The district has already purchased new digital radios to help improve communications.

The superintendent added that schools are already conducting lockdown drills while areas of the school besides the classrooms are occupied. 

The district would also like to expand the use of the K-9 unit from three to 10 times a year throughout the district. In addition, the contract for the program that provides support emotional and mental health support, the Student Assistance Program, will likely be expanded to include elementary schools. It is already in place in the secondary schools.

The board will decide whether or not they will approve funding for the facility changes April 17. If they approve funding, facility changes will begin in phases:

  • Improvements at Dalton High School will begin immediately.
  • Summer Improvements: Dalton Middle, Morris Innovative High School, Blue Ridge, Park Creek, Roan and Westwood
  • Additional Summer: The district added that the same upgrades will be included in the Brookwood and City Park schools' capital renovation projects.

The district explained most of the funding for the projects will come from the Education Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax.

"Safety improvements at schools have always been a priority for the district," the spokesperson added.

For more information on these proposed improvements, visit the Dalton Public Schools website.