By: Lanetra Bennett
August 11, 2014
Bainbridge, GA - Students in Florida are headed back to class soon and students in Georgia have already started their new school year. A new report says both states have work to do when it comes to student safety.
In the safety category, only 39 states were ranked. But, Georgia came in at the very bottom of those 39.
Decatur County school officials believe the numbers are skewed because of larger cities, but, say they still do everything from a local level that they can to keep students safe.
Bainbridge resident Gladys Ellis says, "I worry about my grandchildren, the way the world is today."
Adding to those worries is a new study that says Georgia schools are among the most dangerous in the country.
WalletHub ranks Georgia as 32nd overall; but, at the very bottom of the 39 states it ranked in terms of safety.
Bullying incidents was a key metric.
The principal of Hutto Middle School in Decatur County, Dr. Roy Mathews, says, "We have no tolerance when it comes to bullying."
The study says 1 out of 10 Georgia high schoolers say they've been threatened or hurt with a weapon on school property.
But, Georgia school administrators locally say parents and grandparents shouldn't worry.
Officer Maurice Gaines, the chief over Decatur County's School Resource Officers, says, "We don't have a major problem. We get on it right then. As soon as we find out something, we try to handle it. We don't just push it under the rug."
For safety, every school in Decatur County has surveillance cameras. There are 36 at Hutto Middle School, with 16 to be installed soon.
The overall ranking also takes into account teacher-student ratios.
Principal Mathews says, "It does cause a problem when the class sizes get bigger. The teacher just can't see everything. But, we do a fabulous job of monitoring the school. We do our walk-throughs. The more they can see us, those bullying situations, hopefully they'll feel comfortable to talk to us about any problems they have."
Florida's overall ranking is 29, and has a slightly higher rank for safety, coming in at 22nd.
New Jersey has the number one spot for the safest schools in the country.
Link to the full report