Fayetteville City Schools: New Director of Schools talks school safety plan, staff retention

WAFF's Megan Plotka reporting
Published: Aug. 1, 2023 at 11:57 AM CDT
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FAYETTEVILLE, Tenn. (WAFF) - Fayetteville City School students are back for a brand new school year with Eric Jones at the helm. This will be his first term as Director of Schools after serving the school system for 20 years, most recently as the district’s supervisor and assistant director.

He says he’s excited to carry on the work that the district has been doing for the past few years. He knows leading a school district comes with its own challenges, like the rise of gun violence in schools and fast growth in the region.

He says the district is approaching gun safety in a few different ways. He says there is a School Resource Officer in every school. There is more room in the district’s budget because the state of Tennessee just passed a program giving grants to school districts to cover the costs of SROs.

There are also strict limitations on going in and out of school buildings, even in the high school, the entrance opens to the SROs office.

Many of the windows are bulletproof or bullet resistant due to a strong laminate on them.

“That laminate would be nearly unpenetrable so someone trying to shoot the doors would puncture holes, but the glass would hold,” says Jones. “There’s a video of firemen using an axe to try to get in they couldn’t get through under 10 minutes.”

Jones says they aren’t seeing as much growth as Lincoln County schools, but he’s expecting more over the next decade.

“We’ve been fortunate that leadership in the past has seen this is a trend and prepared for it by making sure we have the appropriate facilities and the size of the buildings is appropriate,” says Jones. “We’re actually in really good shape to be able to handle this growth for the next decade.”

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