Cobb County Schools focus on safety as new school year kicks off

CBS46 News at 3 p.m. - VOD
Published: Aug. 1, 2022 at 11:15 AM EDT|Updated: Aug. 1, 2022 at 12:01 PM EDT
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ATLANTA, Ga. (CBS46) - Monday marks the first day of school in Cobb County and the superintendent made it clear that safety is a priority for the new year.

“School safety is on the forefront of everyone’s mind after the tragedy in Uvalde,” said Superintendent Chris Ragsdale.

Cobb County Schools aren’t only doing drills to get students and staff prepared for worst-case scenarios, they have a new alert system for staff called Centigex that lets teachers know about any kind of emergency on campus. There’s also a new job in the district: the assistant superintendent for school safety initiatives.

“I’m excited to have that position because he is going to be able to work with all of the schools with their safety plans and reunification plans so that we are very well prepared should an event take place,” said Ragsdale.

But another security decision made by the school board a few weeks ago has some parents worried - arming select employees with guns on campus.

“As a parent, the last thing I want to think about is the presence of more firearms at my daughter’s school or any other Cobb school,” said Alicia Thomas Searcy, a district parent.

The policy requires a background check, a carry license, and does not let teachers take part.

“It’s public that we have 67 officers currently. Obviously, we have 112 schools so we need more officers,” said Ragsdale.

Parents have a lot of questions about the policy.

“How will we know who or how many armed individuals our students may be coming into contact with each day?” asked mother Alicia Bellezza-Watts.

But Superintendent Ragsdale said many questions about the program can’t be answered due to security.

“I won’t say if we have, when we will, how many we have and those kinds of things,” said Ragsdale.