Franklin Co. Reacts To Connecticut Shooting

By MJ Kneiser, WLHR Radio, Lavonia

Authorities in Franklin County are also taking steps to ensure students here are safe.

Lavonia Police Chief Bruce Carlisle said he plans to have extra officers at Lavonia Elementary School this week.

“The first thing we’re going to do is have an officer in the school Monday and Tuesday,” Carlisle said. “My assistant chief Matt London has volunteered and is going to be at the school when the teachers arrive.”

Carlisle said London will be making rounds inside the school throughout the day and other officers will also be patrolling in and around the school.

“I will also be patrolling inside the school myself to make sure the kids and staff are safe the next couple of days,” Carlisle said.

In addition, Carlisle said he is planning training sessions for teachers when they come back to class in January.

“The second thing we’re going to do is when the teachers come back to school, that first day will be a work session for them. On that day, we’re going to meet with the entire staff and go over their safety procedures.”

That afternoon, Carlisle said he plans to hold some active shooter demonstrations with his officers.

“That way they can see exactly what happens during an active shooter situation,” he said.

In Royston, Police Chief Donnie Boleman has scheduled extra patrols at Royston Elementary School as well.

Franklin County has four elementary schools, a middle school and a high school.

Franklin County Sheriff Stevie Thomas said extra patrols will be at both elementary schools in Carnesville as well as the Middle and High Schools.

“My officers will be riding the parking lots to deal with anyone who shows up who isn’t supposed to be there,” Thomas said.

Thomas pointed out that at most of the schools in Franklin County, visitors first have to enter the school office before being allowed back in the halls where the classrooms are.

“Our officers who are in the schools will be in the halls and watching more than they have in the past. If they see anything unusual, they will take care of it,” he said.

The extra patrols, according to Franklin County School Superintendent Dr. Ruth Odell, are not designed to scare students or parents, but to let them know, everything is being done to make sure the kind of tragedy that happened in Connecticut doesn’t happen here.

“I think it’s good for everyone to work together and give parents some re-assurance that we’ve thought about this, Odell said Sunday.

And in light of the Connecticut shooting Friday, Dr. Odell said Franklin County schools will be taking another look at their overall security measures.