From the desk of Superintendent Phyllis Edwards…
Dear Decatur Parents and Community:
Friday night following the Decatur High School vs. Grady High School football game, three armed robberies occurred, all involving our students as victims. The Decatur police have issued a release regarding the information about the incidents. Thankfully, our students were not physically harmed, but staff, students, families and citizens of Decatur are feeling stunned and vulnerable.
Decatur High School has always had police presence at our football games. Chief Booker shared with me that after the game on Friday, he sent the rest of the units over to the high school as well. The police have descriptions of the suspects and the robberies are a police matter.
There have been a number of other incidents like this in Decatur over the last few months. I have spoken with the School Board and administrators about any additional measures that we can take to further protect our students. I have asked the city to provide an additional Resource Officer, at the school system’s expense.
City Schools of Decatur will commit to the following to improve the safety of our students before, during and after athletic events:
- Host a Student and Parent Safety Meeting on Thursday evening, Sept. 5 at 6:30 pm in the theater of Decatur High School. Lauri McKain, principal of Decatur High School, will present some of the changes to procedures for large school events moving forward, and Sgt. Ross, of the Decatur Police Department, will provide safety recommendations to our students and families.
- Hire DeKalb County Marshalls on an hourly basis to patrol our campus before, during and after Varsity football and basketball home games
- Evaluate the lighting on the campus, and adding or adjusting bright floodlights
- Investigate the rental of walk-through metal detectors
- Ban spectators’ backpacks or bags from entry into the stadium or gym during a game
- Organize Band parents to chaperone a pickup location for Band students after games
Additionally, I have asked the Principals at the secondary level to meet with students to remind them again to be vigilant, to walk with others and keep their technology out of sight. Certainly awareness is key but for the typical Decatur student or citizen, expecting this type of criminal behavior is not something that they are accustomed to within the usual safe surroundings. Parents may want to form walking groups that are supervised or pick students up at the school after a game.
This can and has happened at other areas of the city. Our students are very accustomed to walking freely throughout Decatur but some of this freedom may have to be monitored while the police increase their patrols.
An additional press release from the Decatur Police Department can be found by following this link.
I am extremely grateful that our students were not hurt. We will continue to be in contact with the police to see what other avenues or remedies they suggest to keep our children safe.
Phyllis A. Edwards, Ed.D.