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Speak Out: Are You Concerned About Safety at Gwinnett County Schools?

On Jan. 31, a teen shooter brought a gun on to the campus of Atlanta's Price Middle School and shot a student. Parents there are enraged. So, we're asking are you concerned about safety at Gwinnett County schools?

Last week's shooting at an Atlanta middle school certainly upset parents in that school district, but it also may have piqued your concern.

In that incident, a 14-year-old boy was sent to the hospital after a bullet grazed his neck. He was released later that day. 

And, a 15-year-old was arrested and charged in what police are calling a "gang-related" shooting, according to media reports.

Since then, angry parents have questioned the operation of metal detectors and overall security at the school. At a recent school board meeting, APS Director of Security Marquenta Sands said that they are looking at "advanced technology" to keep children safe, according to an AJC report.

She offered few specifics though, and gave little explanation as to how a gun got on school grounds in the first place.

The shooting came almost two months after a New England city was rocked by a mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary, where some 20 children were killed.

After that, Gwinnett County Police increased its presence at local schools during that time. And, a week later, Superintendent Alvin Wilbanks had this to say:

"In Gwinnett County Public Schools, safety is one of our top priorities as we know that a safe environment is essential to student learning. Our school district takes a disciplined, proactive approach to ensure a safe learning environment for our students. We have clear expectations for student behavior, and strategies for stopping conflicts or preventing trouble before it occurs."

But, as the largest district in the state, with some 165,000 students, Gwinnett County school officials have a lot to be responsible for. None of the schools, though, have been labeled as "persistently dangerous," according to the state Department of Education.*

In fact, none in the state currently are.

-- So, if you could address any safety concerns with the district's superintendent or its security leader, Chief Wayne Ricard, what would you say? Let us know in the comment section.  --

(Editor's Note: "Persistently dangerous" schools are those with ongoing and numerous safety concerns related to violent crime, drugs and weapons, as definied by the state Department of Education.)

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