Clayton schools to develop safety and security department

JONESBORO — Clayton County Public Schools will have a dedicated school safety and security department for the 2013-14 school year.

The school board voted 8-1 Monday to create the department. District 4 member Michael King opposed the measure. Last week, the board contracted with an Atlanta firm to handle security through the end of the school year.

Interim Superintendent Luvenia Jackson made Monday’s proposal, saying the district would not have a renewed contract with the Clayton County Sheriff’s Office for next year. The sheriff’s office shares costs with the district in order to provide its school resource officers as campus security.

The Clayton News Daily has reached out to the Clayton County Sheriff’s Office but has gotten no response concerning the contract.

“He [Sheriff Victor Hill] will not renew the contract with the school system next year,” said Jackson.

The SROs are contracted to serve the district for the remainder of the school year. However, she said, their on-campus presence has been reduced since Hill took office, which prompted her to propose hiring an outside security firm.

The board approved a $247,000 contract with Atlanta-based Intellectual Concepts LLC last week to provide additional security for the remainder of the school year. Members Mark Christmas, Michael King and Charlton Bivins voted against that contract, and member Jessie Goree abstained.

Goree said she was concerned with the wording in the memorandum of understanding in which the new security officers would not be allowed to participate in lunchroom duties but are asked to patrol the cafeteria area. She also said she wanted other law enforcement jurisdictions involved in the bidding process.

Jackson said the contract provides for 38 additional full-time security officers immediately over a 10-week period. They would be integrated into a force of SROs and security personnel already in the district’s more than 50 school buildings.

Officials did not specify how they would pursue developing the new department for next year but said money earmarked to supplement the sheriff’s program would be reallocated to fund it.