New grant makes possible SRO postings in all Elizabethton city schools

John Thompson • Aug 12, 2019 at 6:36 PM

ELIZABETHTON — One personnel goal of the Elizabethton City School System was achieved for the start of the new school year last week.

School resource officers were assigned to the three elementary schools in the system and will join the school resource officers that have long been assigned to the Elizabethton High School and T.A. Dugger Jr. High School.

State funding from a Governor’s Grant and funding from the city were used to fund the additional personnel positions.

Parents and staff members said they were pleased with the positions.

Parent Jessica Fitzgerald, who has two children enrolled at Harold McCormick Elementary School, said “I am happy to hear SROs are now at my children’s school. It gives you peace of mind as a parent that someone who is trained in hostile situations will be there to diffuse whatever situation might occur.”

Director of Schools Corey Gardenhour also expressed his satisfaction with the posting of the additional officers in the schools.

“If we all work together, then we can make great things happen,” Gardenhour said, “having an SRO in all the elementary schools has been a goal for years.”

Mayor Curt Alexander said he was “glad the stars aligned, and Elizabethton city staff was able to make this happen. The key is safety for the students and help the officers be a mentor for them as they grow up.”

Elizabethton Police Chief Jason Shaw said his department is also pleased with the new positions. Shaw said he was “excited about the new opportunity for SROs to be in schools and able to interact with students on a daily basis.”

Shaw said “the officers are a good role model for students, (along) with a sense of security.”