Parents Voice Concerns Of Weapons At Schools

By: Venton D. Blandin
By: Venton D. Blandin

May 11, 2005

Fluvanna County school parents faced school officials, and got to speak their peace about how school officials handled the recent problem of finding elementary students with guns.

The school board meeting was the first for Fluvanna County Schools' since two students brought a knife and two guns to a elementary school on Friday, May 6. While praising the elementary school where it happened, parents gave the school administration a vote of no confidence.

As with any Fluvanna County school board meeting, fifteen minutes was set aside to hear comments from the public. However, the first person to comment was the county's sheriff.

"We will do a thorough investigation that will entail the message we will not tolerate the safety of our children being at risk," said Sheriff Ryan Washington of Fluvanna County.

Sheriff Washington's comments were seen as a calming device for parents who's bubble was popped when hearing that not one, but two guns and a knife were found at Central Elementary School on Friday.

"Our bubble was burst. The thought of children bringing guns and a knife to Central petrified us," said Lisa Lamb, of Fluvanna County.

Those speaking to the school board--mostly mothers--praised the actions of the school's principal and staff, calling them immediate and responsible. However, the majority of parents had other things to say to the school board.

"School Board, Supervisors, Superintendents, I think you need to reconsider your position, and how you deal with the parents of Fluvanna County," said Ms. Phillips, a Fluvanna parent.

Many believe there is a lack of communication between parents and school officials, and last week's incident was just a wake-up call. In the past, parents were told of bomb threats at a school, but the exact number of bomb threats was in question. This is a problem for Andrea Phillips who says it's taken her days and even weeks to find out any information.

"Who's right, again, no communication" said Phillips.

Fluvanna County Schools have over 3,400 students attending three elementary, one middle, and one high school, which are all patrolled by two resource officers. The assistant superintendent of schools says this is the first time anything this severe has happened, but his colleagues are working to make things better.

"Our staff is working to educate, and that is the next step," said Maurice Carter, the Assistant Superintendent of Fluvanna County Schools.

The parents also threw out ideas of improving the schools' website to keep parents better informed.


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