Things are back on track at Tuscola High School after some threatening graffiti found in a boys bathroom last week caused school officials to send students home a few minutes early.
With a long construction process coming to an end, students and teachers at Pisgah High School are enjoying a bit more space in their building, and Haywood County Schools Maintenance Director Tracy Hartgrove is happy to be putting the final touches on a project that’s been in the works for more than two years.
All 11 Macon County schools will now have their own school resource officer, called an SRO, after county commissioners voted unanimously Monday night to institute the eleventh position at Cartoogechaye Elementary School.
Robert Holland has been pushing to place a resource officer in every school for years — long before the Sandy Hook school shooting tragedy catapulted cops in schools to the top of county funding debates, and even before assuming the sheriff’s badge in 2002, when he served as a deputy and juvenile detective.
Despite rallying around calls for more school resource officers earlier this year, Swain County commissioners will not chip in after all to pay for the new positions as originally promised — leaving the schools to pick up the full tab themselves or lay off the officers.
Haywood County commissioners drew a line in the sand. The Haywood County School Board decided not to cross it. In a nutshell, that’s what happened.
But what was interesting was the spoken and unspoken back and forth between the two elected bodies about taxes and spending in this era of tight budgets and tax-hike phobia.
The Haywood County Board of Education has concluded that the cost of putting officers in elementary schools is not worth raising property taxes.
At first blush, Officer Nan Tritt looks like any other cop. She wears a badge and a gun, and the heft of a bulletproof vest shows under her uniform.
The Haywood County Board of Commissioners have made it clear that without a property tax increase, funding is unlikely for additional school resource officers and guidance counselors.
Law enforcement officials in Haywood County are stepping up to keep a watchful eye on schools as leaders plot their next steps toward increasing safety.
Parents have probably already noticed one simple and cost-free solution to better school security: deputies and police officers have started parking their patrol cars at one of Haywood County’s 16 schools whenever they need to take care of administrative tasks such as filling out reports or doing paperwork.