GRAY, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) – Threats made to schools across Middle Georgia including several in Jones County have prompted the school district and Jones County Sheriff’s Office to try and find a solution.
One of the solutions discussed would make it pretty clear to students that they’re taking action.
For parents of students in Jones County, pencils and notebooks may not be the only mandatory item on their back-to-school lists next year.
“Being proactive and ahead of the curb as far as our safety goes with our students who bring backpacks. So (we’re) looking at the idea of clear backpacks or mesh backpacks for students to bring to school,” said Superintendent Charles Gibson.
School officials are considering requiring students to carry see-through book bags. It was one of several solutions discussed at a safety summit hosted by the school district and sheriff’s office on Thursday.
“We’re very proud of our school system here in Jones County, but they want to give the best education (and) they want a safe environment to teach in. That’s why we’re here,” said Jones County Sheriff Butch Reece.
The summit was an opportunity for parents, teachers, church members and others in the community to voice concerns after several threats to schools in Jones County.
“You can definitely tell the people who were here today care about our children and are doing everything in their power to make sure they stay safe. It felt good as a parent to see that,” said one parent Jennifer Davis.
Davis is a parent and a business owner in Gray. She says her store Ace of Gray is behind the district’s idea to make clear backpacks the new standard for students.
“We normally sell backpacks, lunch boxes, purses–all the back to school items that kids need. But this year with the change in Jones County rules going to mesh or clear book bag requirements, we’re going to be changing up what we’re carrying,” Davis told 41NBC.
Though school officials are trying to set more clear boundaries on their end, parents who attended have committed to stepping up at home as well.
Clear lunch boxes and purses were also mentioned during the summit. Superintendent Gibson says they should be nearing a decision on that by the end of the school year.
Jones County administrators are also placing emphasis on mental health programs and initiatives for students in the district.