District Administration Review Safety Concerns With VPD Chief
With concerns about school safety being brought to the forefront with the recent tragedy in Uvalde, Texas, Vidalia City School Superintendent, Dr. Garrett Wilcox, recently met with the Principals of the four city schools along with Vidalia Police Chief James Jermon.
The purpose of the meeting was to discuss the school's safety plans as well as discuss possible improvements. "We hope we never have the need for anything we discussed today," said Wilcox. "But the reality is, you have to be prepared. We also know that what we have is not perfect, but we have the confidence that our students and staff will be safe when they come to school to learn and work."
One of the things that the District has done is purchase a crisis alert system, which will give teachers and staff the ability to notify administrators along with emergency personnel that there is a crisis situation in the building with a simple push of a button on a badge, which will be distributed to all teachers and essential personnel.
"With the purchase of the Centegix System, we are making sure that should a crisis situation develop, our teachers and staff have the ability to notify not only the administrators but also other teachers and emergency personnel." Said Wilcox. "This not only can be used for an active shooter situation, but also for medical emergencies, student altercations, unauthorized visitors, suspicious activity, and similar situations which may occur in our system," Wilcox added.
The District has a "School Resource Officer," but his time is divided between all four schools, which is not ideal. "Officer Carpenter does a great job," said Wilcox, "but he's just one guy, and he can't be everywhere at one time."
"We wish we could put more full-time officers in the schools, but we have a shortage of officers on our force. It is difficult to cover the city with the officers we have." Said Jermon. "But, I will make sure that our officers become a presence in each of the schools while on patrol. Not just riding through the parking lots but a presence inside the building. We are committed to doing everything we can to protect the students and faculty of the Vidalia City School System."
"We are so thankful for and proud of our officers in Vidalia," said Wilcox. "We are fully aware of the shortage of Officers that they have, and understand it is a very real problem. So, we are thankful, and so appreciative of all they do not only for us but for our great community."
The group plans to meet regularly during the year to discuss, update, and improve school safety.