DOTHAN, Ala. (WSFA) - Change is coming for Dothan City Schools for the upcoming school year - we know that. The system is preparing to move students to different schools as part of the restructuring plan, but school leaders are also reviewing policy and procedures ahead of the new school year.
In a press conference Friday, Scott Faulk, director of Safety, Security, and Attendance, announced more security upgrades for the new school year. Faulk confirmed the system has added 700 new cameras to facilities. It’s one of several safety measures newly implemented.
Others include teachers now carrying key fobs to gain access to locked buildings, continuing the background screening system of volunteers along with the addition of armed school protection officers through a partnership with Dothan police.
Faulk says the system is looking at additional safety upgrades, like adding more cameras, but they have to find the funding first.
“We’re looking at getting safety grants, getting help from other avenues to see if there are other security options we can use. Not only for cameras, but there are certain apps we’re reviewing right now,” said Faulk.
The system is also looking at how to re-purpose existing cameras at schools buildings they will no longer use next school year.
Faulk says with school sizes increasing, they are also looking at the placement of School Resource Officers and School Protection Officers. The system is considering placing two full-time SROs and SPOs at the high school and junior high school level.
The system is also looking to create stronger consequences and consistency for students and staff. One area the system is looking to specifically address are Class 3 offenses - like fighting - which could result in 90 days in alternative school or automatic expulsion. Faulk says he hopes making stricter policy for those offenses will serve as a deterrent and improve school system atmosphere.
“We want students to say, ‘Hey, they have these rules here and they are pretty strict, but the principals are following them and I feel safe going here and I think I’m going to be successful here,’”said Faulk.
The board will get the revised copy of the Code of Conduct during their meeting on Monday. Faulk says he will ask the board to table the vote until June to give the community time to react to possible changes.
The system is also weighing the uniform and cell phone policy.
Faulk says the system could move to a K-12 uniform policy where students would wear a solid-colored top with a collar along with khaki, black, or navy pants.
The system is reviewing the cell phone policy to determine what would work best to limit distractions in school for students.
Faulk is also hosting public meetings for parents to discuss the proposed changes. It’s scheduled June 4 at Dothan Preparatory Academy (old Dothan High School) from 10 a.m. until noon, 2 p.m. until 4 p.m., and 5 p.m. until 7 p.m.