Riverwood International Charter School police officer Donald Rene, left, and Fulton County Schools police detective Angela Washington, right, walk the halls of Riverwood International Charter School in Sandy Springs, Tuesday, April 17, 2018. A Fulton County Schools safety committee has recommended the district hire more police and security officers. ALYSSA POINTER/ALYSSA.POINTER@AJC.COM
Photo: Alyssa Pointer
Photo: Alyssa Pointer

Fulton safety plan includes hiring 16 police officers for elementary schools

A Fulton County Schools safety committee recommended the district hire 16 more school police officers and invest in online mental health services, among other suggestions.

The committee, which the district formed in July, gave its report to the school board Tuesday. The board could approve the plan at its Nov. 15 meeting. 

The work began in response to high-profile school safety incidents. 

The plan calls for the district to hire 16 police officers who would help patrol elementary schools. The district already has police officers at each of its middle and high schools. 

The group also advised the district to hire 10 non-sworn staffers to work in security. That job would include monitoring video surveillance systems. 

An online mental health resource center would provide videos and other web-based resources for students and families to view anytime that provide information about depression, bullying, peer pressure, suicide and other mental health issues, according to the district. The online center would be in addition to the district’s counselors. 

The cost of the plan would include $790,000 in one-time expenses, such as police uniforms and cars and the online resource center. Other costs, such as hiring additional police officers and security staffers and maintaining the online resource center, would cost about $1.6 million a year, according to district estimates. 

“I really hope that this is the start of the conversation and not the end, as we all know that school safety is a major issue, and it’s going to be,” Wesley McCall, Alpharetta’s deputy director of public safety and one of the 26 committee members, told the board Tuesday.

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