Hamilton County school officials stepping up security this year
School safety is on the minds of many parents as they said their kids back to school this year.
The Hamilton County School District is stepping up security this year.
Hamilton County Schools Superintendent Dr. Brian Johnson said they are working to make their software and technology are updated.
"We continue to assess our camera system our obviously electronic locking doors, making sure that our schools understand protocol in the unforeseen situation that something you know happened," Johnson said.
Last year, only 31 of the 79 campuses in Hamilton County had a designated school resource officer (SRO).
Dr. Johnson said Sheriff Jim Hammond allocated funding for two extra SROs in his budget this year.
He said they want to continue to increase the number of SROs on campuses.
Dr. Johnson said there's a two-step approach to school safety, there's the physical aspect such as security cameras and door locks, but he said mental health plays a crucial role as well.
"When you look back historically over the last decade or so those that have committed these heinous crimes they are usually, a lot of times we will find they are students or former students that have mental health issues," Johnson said.
That's why he said the school board tried to secure funding in this year's budget for additional counselors and social workers in the schools.
"The question becomes, 'how are we supporting our students from a mental health standpoint, identifying those students early on," Johnson said.
But county commissioners shot down the request for additional funding.
"Obviously we had some desires within our budget that we weren't quite about to fulfill from that standpoint but we will continue to plow forward," Johnson said.
Hamilton County Schools Spokesperson Tim Hensley said the school system will work with the sheriff's department to determine what campus the additional SROs will be assigned to.