Schools host ‘Clayton Proud’ event

JONESBORO — Officials have set a time for the anti-violence awareness event they are calling “Clayton Proud.”

Spokeswoman Vicki Gavalas said Monday’s event will begin at 6:30 p.m. She said it will last about an hour on the lawn of the Juvenile Justice Center, 9163 Tara Blvd. in Jonesboro.

“This is the beginning of a movement to bring different elements of the community together to support the school district,” said Gavalas. “It’s a rally call for action and solidarity.”

Gavalas pointed to recent incidents in which students were fighting or brought drugs and weapons to school, which prompted officials to organize the upcoming event.

“We are not going to let a few bad apples, who want to bring guns and drugs into our schools and disrupt school, spoil the bunch,” she said.

Gavalas said organizers invited members of Clayton County’s law enforcement and courts, city leaders and the ministerial alliance.

Superintendent Luvenia Jackson and Schools Police Chief Clarence Cox are set to speak, and some top Clayton County officials have committed to attending the event, including Commission Chairman Jeff Turner, Juvenile Court Chief Judge Steven Teske, Solicitor General Tasha Mosley and State Rep. Mike Glanton.

“We are proud to live in Clayton County,” Turner wrote in a letter, announcing his support of the effort. “We take pride in our communities. We take pride in our cultural diversity. We take pride in our businesses. We take pride in our public schools and their efforts to educate the children of our county.”

Turner encouraged the community, parents and students to join officials at Monday’s rally.

“We must create a partnership, joining together the school district with the county’s leaders in government, law enforcement, the courts, the business community, and the clergy to show our community pride,” said Turner. “We want to focus on the great things that are happening in our schools, show our solidarity as a community, and with one voice proclaim that we will not tolerate violence, weapons or drugs in our schools and we will not allow the actions of a few individuals define who we are as a community.”