MCS presents new school safety plan - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Reported by Jason Miles

MCS presents new school safety plan

"I will not stand by in silence any longer," said Rev. Barnzell Towns during Monday night's Memphis City Schools board meeting.

He was just one of more than two dozen speakers addressing the board.

"Charges need to be brought against this school board for what's happening on your watch," said Towns.

Each speaker expressed varying degrees of frustration over recent violence in Memphis City Schools.

"By law, we have to send our kids to school each day," said parent Kathy Howell.  "Playing Russian roulette with their lives," she added.

They've wanted results.  The district has finally prepared a plan.

"Security has and will continue to be of utmost importance to the district," said Interim Supt. Dan Ward during his presentation of the 12-page plan.

Here's a list of the immediate steps:

     -15 new X-ray machines purchased by the city
     -67 Memphis Police Officers re-deployed into city schools, as promised by the mayor
     -23 new security officers to be hired by the school board
     -Metal detector screenings to be increased at high-risk schools
     -School safety audits will be conducted at every school
     -Principals will be reminded they are the first-lines of defense
"You will always find a loophole," student Tenisha Wakefield told the board.

Others said root problems need to be addressed.

"Parental involvement is a must," said parent Garland Holmon.

But district leaders consider recent shootings a signal for immediate action.
"We can't ignore it--it happened--and it's an issue," Dan Ward told us.

The district is not only focused on the short-term.

Long-term solutions include better identifying problem students, moving them to alternative schools, and increasing an emphasis on programs like mentoring.

Click here to e-mail Jason Miles.

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