Canton Public Schools, “We take the safety of our students very seriously.”

Recent events involving the finding of a loaded weapon on school property brought conversations of security measures in area schools to the forefront of social media and CPS administration’s attention. CPS Superintendent Daniel Ingram spoke with The Canton Times regarding the matter, discussing the direct issue and where the district will go from here.

Ingram stressed how he wanted parents and the community to know that CPS will do their very best to protect all of the students, indicating that safety of the students is a matter that school officials take very seriously. He wanted to make it clear that everything the school did was done with the students and their safety in mind. Law enforcement reportedly indicated to CPS that there was never any danger to the students. The weapon was found in a location where students were not allowed, and there were purportedly no students around. According to Ingram, the weapon was located by a staff member. Canton Police Department was immediately contacted, and the gun was handed over to CPD. From there, CPS followed advice and guidance from their attorneys and CPD.

“We have policies for fires. We have policies for an armed gunman, for an active shooter, for lockdowns. We don’t have a specific policy for finding a gun on the floor in the teachers’ bathroom,” Ingram explained. “So, when we don’t have a specific policy to cover something, we rely on our people to assess the situation and use good judgment with the goal in mind of protecting our students… There are some things that we can’t ever guard against, but we do what we can. I guarantee every teacher we have up there would do anything they could to protect their students… I’m very proud of them, the way they handled this, the way they handled themselves and the heart they have for our kids.”

Ingram went on to address the fact that while the immediate problem is over, the conversation is far from finished. The issue of safety has hit close to home for administration, school staff and parents. Among actions under consideration are security cameras inside and outside the schools and more secure entrances. A safe schools committee is currently looking into these and other options.

“One of the things we’re looking at is increased security measures within the school,” Ingram stated. “We take the safety of our students very seriously. This is something that… kind of shocked all of us. It’s a wakeup to a lot of us that we really need to look at the security of our school closer. We’re doing everything we can to see that something like this doesn’t happen again.”

Ingram expressed his appreciation for the way Principle Dora Fuqua and faculty handled the situation: immediately taking action, allowing CPD to assess the situation and following their guidance.

Ingram ended by addressing the concerns of parents of not being notified sooner about the situation. He explained that administration didn’t have information that they could legally give out until later, indicating that they then informed parents with what they could legally release. He stated specifically that CPS attorneys and CPD informed them that they handled the matter as they should have.

Administration continues to look into additional security and safety measures, as well as improved ways to contact parents should the need arise, as they hope to learn from this experience. Ingram urged parents who did not receive notification of this incident to contact the office of their child’s school to verify correct, updated contact information is on file.

The Canton-Times

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