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‘We are all here to help:’ Forsyth County superintendent, sheriff assure community of school safety measures following shooting in Texas
School cameras

Forsyth County Schools Superintendent Dr. Jeff Bearden reminded Forsyth County residents and families of the safety precautions in the district’s schools in a statement released on Wednesday, May 25.

The letter from Bearden comes the day after an 18-year-old gunman allegedly killed 21 people — 19 children and two adults — at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas.

“In this season of what should be nothing but celebrations, I write to you this morning with a heavy heart,” Bearden said. “As we mourn the lives lost and the lives forever changed in Uvalde, Texas, I want to reassure you that the safety of our students and staff is now, and will forever be, our No. 1 priority.”

Bearden said that he partnered with Forsyth County Sheriff Ron Freeman following the 2018 highschool shooting in Parkland, Florida to create a task force and conduct a security audit of all schools in the county. Through this task force, he said several changes were made.

There are now security vestibules at every school as guests walk through the front door. Visitors are only allowed through this entrance where they must show identification “so we can perform a background check,” Bearden stated.

The Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office assigns School Resource Officers to each school campus, and while other deputies in the county are on patrol, they finish administrative work while sitting in their cruiser in a school parking lot.

Bearden reminded parents and residents that it is also important for them and their students to report any suspicious activity they see in schools or the community.

“When tips are received, our school safety team and law enforcement react immediately, 24-7, to investigate the credibility of the alleged threat,” Bearden stated.

Students and families can submit tips to their principal, administration, teachers and other trusted adults or contact the Sheriff’s Office directly at 770-781-3087.

They can also report tips anonymously through P3 Campus by downloading the app, visiting the website at www.p3campus.com, or calling 770-888-3466.

“Yesterday’s tragedy was senseless and heartless,” Bearden stated in the letter. “As a dad, as an educator, it’s hard to fathom. Our children, our staff need us all to continue to work together, to support one another and love one another.”

Freeman also posted a statement during Lambert High School’s graduation ceremony Tuesday night, reflecting on the devastating news from Texas.

“As I sit here tonight looking over 700-plus Lambert High [School] graduates experiencing their highlight of the year, I’m rejoicing with these parents, but I am also heartbroken over the senseless murder of children in Uvalde, Texas,” Freeman wrote. “These babies were also celebrating their last day of school when evil entered their elementary school and brought the most cowardly act one could bring.

“So many Texas families are hurting in a way few can imagine,” he continued. “Please keep them in your prayers. They need to feel an entire nation praying for them. May God grant them grace and peace.”

In his statement, he also tried to bring reassurance to Forsyth County’s families, noting that the sheriff’s office has 48 School Resource Officers who report to school campuses every day. He also reminded residents of the importance of reporting suspicious activity.

“Please remember to talk to your kids about ‘see something, say something,’” he stated. “It can be the difference for all of us.”

Bearden told families that counselors and social workers are available in the school system to give advice to parents and guardians on how to talk to their kids about Tuesday’s tragedy.

For more information or to contact a counselor, parents should contact their schools or visit the district’s website at www.forsyth.k12.ga.us.

“We are all here to help,” Bearden stated.