Gwinnett Schools create a new task force to address student violence

Published: Nov. 17, 2022 at 11:29 PM EST
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ATLANTA, Ga. (Atlanta News First) -Thursday the Gwinnett County School Board and the Gwinnett County School District announced plans to create a new disciplinary task force to help stop the ongoing violence in the district.

“We’ve got to put our heads together right now as quickly as possible and figure out what our people need to do and give them the concrete tools they need to work with,” said Gwinnett County School Board Vice Chair Steven Knudsen during the school board meeting Thursday night.

Knudsen expressed to members of the school district that the new disciplinary policy, approved in August, doesn’t seem to be working on students.

“The response has been underwhelming,” Knudsen said.

RELATED: Amid violence, officials discuss adding metal detectors to Gwinnett Co. schools.

The policy was designed to address the behavioral, social, and emotional needs of students from an intervention standpoint rather than just consequential.

‘We need more councilors,” one GCPS student said during the public comment period Thursday night.

Parents, students, and the school board said the safety of students can’t wait any longer for meaningful change.

“There was a shooting at my students’ school a few weeks ago. The board and the school district need to work with the community,” One parent said.

Meanwhile, Gwinnett County School District Executive Director of Administration and Policy, Jorge Gomez, told the board that, board members approved the new policy in August and it takes more than a month to train thousands of staff members on the new policy.

“So it does take a little while. Was each of the 12,500 employees trained on day one of the school, and trained up in all of those issues? The answer would have to be no,” Gomez said after Knudsen asked if all district staff had the necessary training that they asked for back in August.

The district and the school board both agreed the best solution is to create a new disciplinary task force. They said the task force will meet twice a week to establish a better method of implementation of the new discipline policy.

“Assistant principals, students, community leaders, special education teachers, all of these folks are going to get them in a room. We’re going to ask these tough questions, we’re going to have a robust dialogue about the policy, JCDI, about JCD, about where we are and what we are trying to accomplish,” another member of GCPS said.

GCPS told Atlanta News First that it’s still unclear how big the task force is going to be and if there will be a task force in every school in the district.