Clayton County seeking volunteers to improve school safety

Clayton County Schools is looking for some eyes and ears to help keep students and staff safe.

The district will have a meeting at 6 p.m. today at Jonesboro High School to find volunteers for its “Village on Patrol” program, a plan to use community volunteers to “observe” and “listen” for any reports of safety issues at schools in the south metro Atlanta community.

“We need you parents and others to volunteer,” Clayton Schools Superintendent Morcease Beasley said during a YouTube Live on Monday. “Opportunities exist for you to help us with safety and security.”

The launch of the program comes as Clayton, like most school systems across the country, is trying to find ways to beef up security because of mass shootings, including the May massacre at a Uvalde, Texas, elementary school that ended in the deaths of 19 children and two teachers.

Clayton Schools also has mandated that students carry clear book bags this academic year to make it easier to spot weapons. The district struggled last year keeping weapons off campuses and buses, leading the district to ban book bags and lockers in the waning months of the year.

Documents obtained by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution through an open records request found that close to 100 weapons were brought to Clayton school campuses or on its buses last year. They included an AR-15 assault rifle, handguns, brass knuckles, knives, BB guns, stun guns and tasers.