Watson Chapel school board meets to discuss safety measures after school shooting

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PINE BLUFF, Ark. – One week following the deadly school shooting, the Watson Chapel School board met and discussed safety measures and how to move forward.

The meeting started with a heartfelt resolution sending thoughts and prayers to the family of Daylon Burnett, the 15-year-old killed in the shooting. The discussions were focused on how to prevent what happened to Burnett within the school hallways.

“You could tell the Watson Chapel School District had been doing drills for such an incident,” Pine Bluff Police Chief Kelvin Sergeant said.

The sergeant answered questions about not having a school resource officer assigned to the district citing a lack of officers.

“When you call 911, one thing I cannot allow to happen is for us to say we don’t have personnel available to answer or address the call,” Sergeant said.

Teachers also voiced their concerns to the board asking for better security measures like clear backpacks, gates around parking lots, and better locks on doors.

Superintendent Dr. Jerry Guess pointed out they have already added some security measures.

“You might see that we have a stand-alone metal detector that we used today. We have some handheld metal detectors we’re going to start using more frequently,” Guess said.

In addition, they want more officers on campus and mental health support available to their students.

“The best possible help we can get is if we have uniformed off-duty sheriff’s deputies and police officers on our campus,” Guess said.

Watson Chapel does have a Jefferson County Sheriff’s Deputy assigned to the district and an armed security guard. Off-duty Pine Bluff police officers will also start visiting the campuses.

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