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Rumors fuel added security; no issues occur

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By Thomas Barr

 SHEPHERDSVILLE - The last week before Christmas break was anything but normal for the Bullitt County Public School System.

Starting the previous week with some threatening comments through the social media and then having an incident Monday where a student was caught with pieces of a toy gun, that would be enough to concern for school officials.

But mix in the shooting in Connecticut and the prediction by the Mayan calendar that the world was to end on Friday and you have the perfect storm.

With sheriff’s deputies and city police officers at each of the county’s schools, superintendent Keith Davis said there were not problems on Friday.

The only issue was that attendance was 77 percent, much lower than the 94 percent on a normal day.

“It was a draining week for everyone,” said Davis. “There were a lot of people involved in making sure things went well this week.”

Davis said with all the rumors, the district had no choice but to take every precaution possible.

In going to numerous schools on Friday, Davis said he observed business as usual at most.

Bullitt Central, the site of the first rumored threat, attendance was only 38 percent. Davis attributed some of that to the fact that students had finished their final exams on Thursday.

Attendance at North Bullitt, the scene of the fake gun, was at 64 percent. Bullitt East attendance was 85 percent.

The rest of the schools were much better but all were below their normal attendance rate.

Davis thanked the law enforcement officials for providing the presence in each of the schools.

Sheriff David Greenwell said, “The plan for today was just to let the students know we stand with them.”

Greenwell said it was important for the students and staff to know that threats or words would not interrupt the learning process.

“Everything went normal,” Greenwell said of Friday. “Just as it should every day.”

Thanks to some creative scheduling by Lt. Mike Murdoch, Greenwell said the department was able to utilize special deputies, criminal and drug detectives and minimal overtime for several regular officers with minimal extra expense.

The sheriff said he has always had a good working relationship with safe schools coordinator Jaime Goldsmith and he would be more than willing to discuss any ideas to make the district even safer.

Currently, the sheriff’s department has two school resource officers in the district, plus Lt. Col. Carl Trent is a former resource officer who has worked with the district for years.

Davis said his team is looking at where improvements can be made and setting out a priority list.

Since the publicity over the Connecticut shooting, Davis said calls over concerns at the open roomed facilities at Maryville and Mount Washington Elementary resurfaced, as well as the long hallway leading to the office at Pleasant Grove Elementary.

All those concerns will be examined, said Davis.

The only certainty is that Davis said Christmas break could not have occurred at a better time.

“It has been a very hard week on everyone,” said Davis. 

Classes will resume on Monday, Jan. 7.