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Rome Board of Education to talk school security

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The Rome Board of Education will talk over possible changes to improve school security during a called meeting this afternoon.

The meeting will begin at 1 p.m. and will be held in Rome City Schools Superintendent Lou Byar’s office at 508 E. Second St.

Board Chairwoman Faith Collins said all schools have safety measures “but we know they can be improved.” One of the topics of discussion is ensuring each school within the system utilizes a uniform safety plan, she added.

Following the recent shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida — 17 people were killed — Collins said the board is aiming to develop solutions to make sure everyone is safe in school.

This includes looking at possibly adding school resource officers at elementary schools or at least increasing a police presence — Rome high and middle schools have SROs. Additionally, board members will look at entryways to schools. Each school has a buzz-in entry system, Collins said, and the aim is to make sure only the people who have been buzzed in are entering the school, not someone who may be following that person.

“I definitely know there has to be something done,” she said.

President Donald Trump last week expressed a desire to arm teachers or other school personnel who underwent intensive training in handling firearms annually — he also said these educators should receive bonuses.

Collins said she would rather see more officers in schools than arming teachers.

“I am one vote,” she said. “The teachers have a big responsibility now to teach the kids and I think that would add pressure on them. “Just because you're trained with a gun doesn’t mean an accident can’t happen."

Each board member is expected to bring up ideas for what could be done for school security.

“I look forward to hearing what the other six members think,” she said.