Life as we know has changed. This world we live in has become one where evil and mental issues seem to be taking over with a vengeance, leaving us all at risk at any given moment, especially our children. Every day, there seems to be a school shooting or incident taking place all over the nation. The most recent, Parkland, Florida, where seventeen children and teachers shot to death by a student with obvious mental issues. And in the aftermath, it was discovered that there were warning signs there all along.
Life here in Clay County has always been like a touch of Mayberry. You walk down the streets and everywhere you look, you smile and wave at people you know, and perhaps engage in conversation. The crime rate is low here, thanks to our law enforcement, who do everything in their power to stay on top of things. People who come and go here always say that coming back to Clay County is like taking a step back in time, but things are slowly changing. That evil that we see in the outside is slowly beginning to invade our peaceful little world here. So, how do we handle that?
Back in our day, there were no threats to us when we went to school that these children face today. Now as a parent, the very thought of sending your child to school not knowing what dangers may await them leaves you with a helpless and terrifying feeling. School should be a safe haven to our children, one where evil and tragedy can never strike. But that is no longer the case and it leaves us all a little uneasy. So, how do we handle that? How do we keep our children safe from harm? Sadly, there is no reassurance that we can, but it doesn’t mean we won’t do everything in our power to ensure that it won’t.
Recently, there were a couple of incidents that suggested our schools could be at threat that set a plan in motion for Darlene Alldredge. Darlene was a member of the Calhoun County Safe School Task Force that formed in after the Columbine shooting in 1999 and felt we needed a program like that here in Clay County. After a few calls, a meeting was arranged.
This meeting was held last week, and Clay County Safe Schools Task Force was formed. Attending this meeting was Benny Morrison, District 1 Commissioner, Ashland Police Chief Joseph Stanford, Lineville Police Chief Shane Dunnagan, Clay County Chief Deputy Henry Lambert, Central Sr. High Principal Russell Hatchcock, Ashland Elementary Principal Jarred Wesley, Rodney Denson, Darlene Alldredge, and Tammy Andrews.
Some of the many topics discussed during this meeting stemmed from preventative measures, learning those warning signs from a disturbed student, how to make students more aware of any pending problems, how to make the campuses more secure, and forming a plan of action, among other things. It was a very informative session, where many recommendations were made. Of course, there will be more meetings to follow, but the Core Group was formed and everyone was in agreement that something needed to be done to ensure our chidren’s safety.
Please keep in mind that this is a work in progress, but the foundation has at least been laid, and we are in the process of forming committees to implement the ideas made at this initial session. As soon as everything is in place, you can expect a public assembly for all parents and concerned citizens for more information. We feel confident that the community will embrace this program and hopefully become active in it. More information will be released at a later date, but we encourage you to like our Facebook page to keep up with the latest: https://www.facebook.com/Clay-County-Safe-Schools-Task-Force-430485787382122/
Our children’s safety is a highest priority.