During the course of the past year DeKalb County Schools has added an extra security measure in an effort to help keep students out of trouble, or stop trouble before it starts.
School spokesman Walter Woods said since the system began allowing DeKalb County parole officers into schools they have been “enormously” helpful.
“I think we’ve seen a reduction in in-school incidents…We’re seeing some trends that are positive with the [parole officers] reducing fights on campus and things like that,” Woods said.
Woods said the parole officers on campus have offices and differ from armed police officers serving as resource officers, although they work together at times.
“They work with the principals and resource officers to ensure that the students that are eligible for probation are keeping out of trouble,” Woods said. “It also provides a resource for additional counseling for students and it’s a good preventative measure to have additional personnel on hand.”
The program was implemented by Desiree Sutton Peagler, DeKalb County chief juvenile judge, and Theodore Carter Jr., former DeKalb County chief probation officer, in conjunction with school officials.
According to reports, approximately 15 parole officers visit DeKalb’s middle and high schools three days a week, on average. Parole officers monitored nearly 400 students who have been to juvenile court for crimes ranging from truancy to more serious offenses such as assault or drug possession.
“In every forum we have had people whosaid we need to focus on school discipline,” Woods said. “We recently hired a new head of discipline that will begin in January.”
Woods said school discipline is a “big priority” for Superintendent Cheryl Atkinson’s new administration.