GUILFORD COUNTY, N.C. (WGHP) — Assaults, threats and weapons are three things Guilford County Sheriff Danny Rogers says are creating extreme dangers in our schools.
Rogers is so worried about the safety of students, staff and his school resource officers that he drafted a three-page letter to superintendent Dr. Whitney Oakley.
He sent the letter on Oct. 11. At the time, there was a fight at every high school in Guilford County except Northwest. As of Tuesday, every high school has seen a fight on campus.
“It’s a total disrespect for society. We’re seeing that across the board. Our school resource officers are just overwhelmed with issues in our school system,” said Sgt. R.D. Seals with the Guilford County Sheriff’s Office.
In the sheriff’s letter, he points out teachers are telling school resource officers “they have completely lost control of their students.”
On Sept. 21, deputies say a student assaulted an administrator and an SRO at Ragsdale High School.
Eight days later on Sept. 29, multiple deputies responded to Eastern Guilford High School for several fights across the campus.
The first week of October, SROs handled one fight at Ragsdale and three fights at Northern High School.
On Oct. 10, an SRO was punched in the face trying to break up a fight.
Those dangers have teachers resigning and parents hesitating to send their kids to school.
We asked the superintendent how she deals with this during a Nov. 16 news conference.
“We handle all parent concerns on a case-by-case basis. The principals are the first line of defense when it comes to how to best support students and parents,” Oakley said.
Rogers is encouraging school leaders to take a zero-tolerance approach.
His team has found nothing else seems to work.
On Tuesday, we asked Oakley if she is considering taking on the sheriff’s suggestion of zero tolerance.
“We’re continuing to look at our code of conduct, training in place and additional measures that are working. We wouldn’t do that kind of recommendation without formal board action. That’s a policy the board sets,” Oakley said.
Our public records request returned a list showing almost 500 students in elementary, middle and high schools involved in fights in the first two months of the school year.
Rogers’ deputies are reporting they are having to use more force to get things under control.
The school district is putting a new focus on safety strategies.
In addition to the security camera upgrades, security screeners and clear bag policy, four new safety specialists will join the district’s school safety office, staff will get anti-bullying training and non-administrators will get paid to help with manpower at athletic events.