New safety campaign launched after 250 student threats last school year in Williamson County | #schoolsaftey

FRANKLIN, Tenn. (WSMV) – Williamson County officials launched a new safety campaign after 250 student threats were investigated last school year which led to 45 arrests.

Williamson County Schools and the Williamson County Sheriff’s Office, among other state and county officials, held a press conference on Tuesday morning to announce the new school safety initiative. They’re challenging parents to talk with their children about safety going into the school year.

Officials said this new safety campaign focuses on how to communicate with families, how to discuss common issues that aren’t talked about publicly, and how schools approach safety through their school resource officers, drug searches and sex safety.

“We have got to have our parents engaged. We have got to have our students engaged,” Williamson County Schools director of safety and security Michael Fletcher said. “It takes every single person to protect these schools. Not one person or one single security measure is going to work. It is going to take a multitude of procedures, and it is going to take everyone’s actions to keep our kids safe.”

There will be an SRO in every Williamson County school, and some larger buildings will have two full-time officers. The county received a $4.5 million grant to help cover the costs of its safety team.

The Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security has been so impressed by what’s being done in Williamson County that they are preparing to take some of their team approaches and expand them statewide to catch threats before they become a problem for schools.

Officials said around 80% of school shooters told someone before it happened. Williamson County Schools is trying to create an environment where people feel comfortable coming forward and reporting all potential threats to an SRO, teacher, administrator or parent so they can be fully investigated.

“We don’t have school safety solved. This is a constant effort,” Superintendent Jason Golden said. “We actually created these videos and public service announcements to emphasize to our families that we need more help. Every day it is on our minds. We have that worry every day. Are we doing enough? I can’t predict the future, but I know we need to be on this journey. Every chance we can improve our student’s safety, we have to take that opportunity.”

The first day of school for Williamson Co. is Aug. 4, which is a half day.

Here are some key takeaways from the safety press conference:

  • All outside doors will be locked at all times
  • People must show ID and sign in when entering
  • Students are urged to take safety drills seriously
  • SROs will be in every building, larger buildings will have two
  • Students should not open doors to anyone
  • Students are encouraged to share information with SROs “If they see something, say something”
  • Dogs will be used to search schools for drugs
  • All drugs are illegal in schools, zero tolerance offense
  • Sexting exposes students to risk, consequences can impact student’s experience at school
  • Sextortion is underreported
  • Threats are being taken seriously, mass violence threats (two or more), and the student is sent to an alternative learning center for a full year. They may also face felony charges

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