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Sheriff, commissioners, schedule joint public meeting to discuss school safety

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Ashe County Sheriff James Williams

Originally published: Dec. 18, 2012
Last modified: Dec. 28, 2012

Adam Orr

In the wake of the Newtown, Conn., shooting on Dec. 14, Ashe County Sheriff James Williams and the Ashe County Board of Commissioners have scheduled a public meeting to discuss school safety beginning at 8:30 a.m. on Dec. 21 at the Ashe County Courthouse. 

"This is something we felt like we needed to do to reassure everybody," said Ashe County Sheriff James Williams. "Over the long term, we're looking at what we can do to ensure the day-to-day safety of our kids." 

The meeting will also allow the public to offer comments and suggestions. 

"Right now, everybody is upset and on edge after the Newtown shooting," said Williams. "Every parent is concerned, and I've also been contacted by the school board, and I'm going to talk with the principals and the superintendent about their concerns. It'll be a kind of brainstorming session." 

Williams said ACSO Deputies currently patrol the parking lots of the county's five schools, and try to be present during the morning and afternoon as parents drop off and pick up their children. 

Additionally, an armed School Resource Officer is stationed at Ashe County High School. 

"I want to be clear that we've received no threats against any of the schools," said Williams. "But strictly from the standpoint for parents, students and staff we're trying to increase our presence at the schools to make folks feel safer right now." 

Williams said all ACSO officers have received specific scenario based training to prepare them for dangerous situations at county schools. 

"All my officers have trained in the schools, and we're going to continue that in the future," said Williams. "Usually, when the schools are empty in the summer, we'll hold training sessions and throw different situations at our officers. We hope we never face any kind of a situation like Connecticut, but if it does come we're prepared."

For more information and stories, see Ashe Mountain Times.