MACON, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) - A consulting firm hired by the Bibb County School district released a report suggesting the school system make some big changes in safety and how it handles student discipline.
The Bibb County School District requested a school safety, security and emergency management assessment of nine schools back in March. The school system selected Safe Havens International to evaluate the schools through surveys, observational tours and interviews. The report not only lists areas that should be worked on, but also states the district needs to improve its current approach to student discipline.
"We wanted an honest evaluation of where we had any gaps and the report did identify some areas of praise, things we're doing well, but they did identify some areas where we did have gaps and we're going to address those," David Gowan, the director of risk management for Bibb County schools, said.
The 97 page report suggests the school district improve the schools' emergency response plan, locking classrooms and work spaces when not in use and increase funding for the school police department.
"We do take these recommendations seriously and we will be very diligently over the next 12 to 18 months addressing all those areas," Gowan said.
The report also recommended the school district withdraw from a recent agreement to stop prosecuting misdemeanors that happen at public schools. The report states, "the district needs to significantly improve its current approach to student discipline...This should be viewed as a core success strategy that will impact almost every major aspect of operating the school system."
Safe Havens International wouldn't comment directly on this report, but executive director Michael Dorn says their focus is on making schools safer and creating effective learning environments.
"We conduct these assessments in a manner that is designed to reduce the risk of serious injury and death but also to improve the quality of education," Dorn said.
Gowan says he is grateful for the report.
"There is no perfect plan so anywhere we have gaps, I think that just makes us a better school district as far as the safety and security of our students."