GCT holds community event to discuss safety

PARAGOULD, AR (KAIT) – GCT Schools Administrators want parents to know what is being done to keep their student safe in school.

"We've had security measures in place and response plans but most people don't know that because it's not something we advertise," GCT Superintendent, Jerry Noble told Region 8 News. "They didn't even realize we had a plan so we're gonna kind of put their mind at ease that we do have a plan and let them know that we do everything we can do keep their kids safe and our staff members."

On hand at the meeting were Paragould Police, the new School Resource Officers for GCT and Brent Cox, the man who put the school's emergency response plan into place.

"School shootings, school violence happening on our campus is not a new thing," Cox told the audience. But he assured them that everyone at GCT schools has safety at the forefront of their minds. "They're doing all they can do to plan for those events, no matter how small or how big it is."

Along with the emergency response plans, GCT is also now implementing buzz-in systems at each of the schools. The systems will be modeled after the buzz-in system currently at place at GCT High School. The district has also recently hired two SRO's.

"We've always had pretty much open access to our school buildings but times have changed," Noble said.

Noble told Region 8 News that because of the Tragedy at Sandy Hook, these security measures are being put into place faster than they'd originally planned.

At the meeting, parents like Crystal and James Toney had the opportunity to voice their concerns to administrators about certain safety aspects on the campuses.

"The buzzer systems, that may be a good idea," James Toney told Region 8 News. But he feels that the older buildings have too many access points. "We still are very concerned about that," he said. "I think we maybe could rest a little easier. But there's too many doors..too many entry ways."

Noble let parents know that they are looking into every avenue of what all can be done but, he told them, that money will play a factor into what can be done and when.

James told Region 8 News that he'll feel enough as been done when his kids feel safe again.

"Whenever they don't come home anymore and say, 'Daddy, there's too many windows, there's too many places where they can get in. We're scared.'"

Some of those other avenues that GCT is looking into include getting more resource officers in the future. The possibility of metal detectors was also discussed at the meeting but at this time, there's no plan to do so just yet. The school plans on contacting other schools in the area that have metal detectors at their schools to weigh the pros and cons.

School officials also let parents know that the buzz-in system at GCT Primary was put into place as of Thursday afternoon. Putting the system in the other schools will follow soon. However, Noble told Region 8 News, until then, they have people on hand checking visitors ID's.

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