Message from the Superintendent: School Safety

Message from the Superintendent: School Safety

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Category : CCSD

Please see the Feb. 16, 2018 message below from Cherokee County Superintendent of Schools Dr. Brian V. Hightower:

Dear Parents,

Like many of you, I have spent the past two days reflecting on the horror that occurred on the campus of Stoneman Douglas High School and praying for Parkland and our country.

Such a tragedy is the greatest fear not only of every parent, but also of every educator and every Superintendent of Schools.

While our School District long has been a leader in ensuring school safety and security, we continuously evaluate what more we can do to protect our children and our employees.

Following the Sandy Hook school shooting tragedy, we established the Superintendent’s Ad Hoc Safety and Security Committee.  This group, made up of CCSD police and school operations leaders, Principals, parents and our community’s sheriff and municipal police chiefs, visited every one of our schools to audit security measures and procedures and reviewed all of our District safety policies and protocols.

The recommendations from that group have led to important improvements made over the last five years, such as the addition of more POST-certified officers to our CCSD School Police Department; the redesign of school entrances, and installation of electronic front-door buzzer and camera systems and security foyers; and the introduction of the School Messenger notification system being used to send you this message.

Knowing the past effectiveness of this Committee, I’ve called upon CCSD School Police Chief Mark Kissel, who serves as chairman of the group, to hold a series of meetings beginning next month.  We’ve notified Committee members today of our need for their assistance, and we appreciate their service.

The focus of these meetings will be to assess current and emerging school safety initiatives, determine the programmatic, operational and fiscal impact of CCSD’s safety and security protocols and practices, and provide me with recommendations this spring prior to the presentation of my recommended Annual Budget to the School Board.  If you have any input you would like to share with the Committee, please email it to Chief Communications Officer Barbara P. Jacoby at

As you know, three educators lost their lives protecting the children of Stoneman Douglas High School.  Our School District’s team – from the teachers in the classroom to the leaders on our School Board – cares about your children as if they were their own.  That care is what makes Parkland so heart-breaking for us and why I’ve called upon this Committee to take action.

Dr. Brian V. Hightower
Superintendent of Schools