Journal-Times (Grayson, KY)

Local News

December 19, 2012

Dotson says school safety is top priority

Dec. 19, 2012 —     While most Americans recoiled in shock and grief last weekend over the senseless tragedy in Newtown, Conn., public school leaders like Carter County Supt. Ronnie Dotson had to work through their own emotions to deal with the realities of safety in their districts.

    “It was a horrible, horrible tragedy,” Dotson said. “I can't even begin to imagine what those families are going through.”

    The Carter County School District has a safety plan in place. They practice monthly emergency drills, including ones for lockdown situations that could come from school shooting incidents.  

    Carter County is no stranger to this kind of tragedy.

    East Carter High School was the scene of the first documented school shooting nearly 20 years ago. A teacher, Deanna McDavid, and a custodian, Marvin Hicks, were killed by a student, Gary Scott Pennington, who was 17 at the time.

     By law, each school district must complete two fire drills within the first 30 days of school, and one every month after. Districts also conduct drills for severe weather and earthquakes.  

    Dotson said after Friday's shooting the district did not consider closing early for the holidays.  

    “Our hearts go out to those people,” Dotson said. “Research shows schools are the safest place for kids to be and keeping students busy in school helps them cope better with stress.”

    Kentucky State Police officers visited schools within the district on Monday, walking through to check doors and make recommendations to principals and staff about possible safety concerns. 

    The superintendent said he believes Monday’s normal attendance figure was evidence that the public has confidence in the school district’s safety procedures.  

    Dotson said the most difficult hurdle for staff members will be questions from students.

    “We sent out info to all staff members on how to deal with questions that the students may have,” Dotson said. “It had a list of things that they would need to be prepared for. We didn't bring it up, but we want to address any questions they may have.”

    Dotson said honesty would be something all staff members would use to answer questions.

    “This is a time to show the kids that they can come to us with anything and we will be truthful with them,” he added.

    Carter County has about 4,900 students and 700 employees who spend each school day in 11 buildings, including the two high schools, two middle schools, six elementary schools, and the career and technical center.  

    The school district employs two armed school resource officers (SRO), one at each high school.  

    Could the public’s reaction to what happened in Connecticut result in armed officers in all schools?

    Dotson says that although it isn't something the district is actively pursuing, that it may be a reality in the future.  

    At all the schools, doors stay locked, except for the entrance, which has a locked area that separates the outside world from the students.

1
Text Only
Local News
  • 16 indicted by Carter grand jury

    Indictments of 16 persons have been handed down by a Carter County grand jury. Although 11 of those were processed June 27, the documents were released Monday to the Journal-Times.

    July 23, 2014

  • Wreck4.JPG Wreck leaves trail of gravel

    Members of Carter County Emergency Management, Norton Branch Fire Department, Kentucky State Police
    and Carter County EMS responded to an overturned truck Monday afternoon.

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Rex Collins.JPG Package liquor sales begin in Grayson

    It took more than a year, an investment of about $750,000, and a lot of paperwork but packaged liquor went on sale last Thursday in Grayson.

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Star Elementary renovation underway

    Ongoing renovation of Star Elementary School was one of the main topics of conversation at Monday night’s meeting of the Carter County Board of Education.

    July 23, 2014

  • Standout Youth Rally

    The third annual Standout Youth Rally will take place this weekend at the Olive Hill Shrine Park. The Christian praise and worship experience is free and includes admission, food, camping and entertainment.

    July 23, 2014

  • Stage lighting welcome at renovated OHHS

    Performers at the Olive Hill Arts and Education Center, previously known as Olive Hill High School, eventually will be highly visible to their audiences in the future, thanks to help from the Carter County Community Fund (CCCF).

    July 23, 2014

  • Olive Hill fire chief to step down

    Olive Hill Fire Chief Wes Gilliam has informed the Journal-Times that he will resign from his position effective July 31.

    July 23, 2014

  • DSC_9807.JPG Beer on sale in Olive Hill

    Malt beverage sales began in Olive Hill last Wednesday.

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • store.jpg Packaged liquor sales begin this week

    July 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • DSC_7242.jpg Rodeo rides again at Carter County Fair

    After three years with no rodeo, the bucking broncos will return to the Carter County Fair this Thursday and Friday.

    July 16, 2014 1 Photo

Poll