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County officials unveil school safety initiatives

The Wilson County Sheriff’s Office, Wilson County Schools and the Lebanon Special School District will be launching some new initiatives designed to enhance school safety throughout the district.

In the wake of the recent school shootings in Kentucky and Florida, the number of student threats have spiked both locally and nationally. While few of those threats have been deemed credible, the agencies felt it was important to establish a more comprehensive reporting system for complaints. Specifically, the Sheriff’s Office has created a “Concerned Citizens Report,” along with a specialized database to help track and manage all future incident reports. Any time a report is entered into the system, a text message and email will automatically be sent to an SRO supervisor for review.

Sheriff Robert Bryan says this centralized database will not only provide for more thorough record keeping of each case, but it will also prevent incidents of suspected violence from slipping through the cracks.

“In the past, some parents have been filing complaints at the school level, while others have been contacting law enforcement directly,” said Sheriff Bryan. “Both are fine, but with the number of complaints that we’re seeing, it’s really important to have solid, timely record keeping, particularly in those cases where we believe something has occurred, but don’t have sufficient evidence to file criminal charges. Also, a periodic security assessment of each school is vital for ensuring that our students and staff have the safest environment possible.”

The Sheriff’s Office will also launch a School Safety Committee, comprised of teachers, parents, Youth Services staff and members from the District Attorney’s office. The group will meet quarterly to address specific concerns from the community and identify new safety initiatives, moving forward.

“School Resource Officers already play a vital role in all of our schools, and these new measures will only enhance that,” said Wilson County Schools Director Dr. Donna Wright. “The reality is, there are limits on what our school administrators are capable of investigating. That’s why it’s so important that law enforcement be directly involved, whenever there’s even a suspicion that a student could pose a serious threat.”

“The Lebanon Special School District truly appreciates the partnership with the Sheriff’s Office and the proactive involvement of the SROs,” said Scott Benson, Lebanon Special Schools District Director. “The forward thinking of Sheriff Bryan and his staff to involve the schools and the community through the reporting system and safety committee is another tool we can all utilize in providing a safer culture for our students.”

To report a threat or suspicious activity, go to www.wcso95.org/schooltip which will be sent directly to law enforcement. Filling out the form is considered an official report to law enforcement. Any INTENTIONAL false information reported and will be considered a violation of Tennessee Code Annotated. Any INTENTIONAL false information reported may result in being charged with a crime.

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