Superintendent Haynes asks board of supervisors for help with school safety

Published 12:41 pm Thursday, June 16, 2022

The Jefferson Davis County Board of Supervisors met for the first meeting of the month June 6 in the board room in Prentiss. Rev. Jessie Holloway offered prayer before the agenda was approved.

First on the agenda was Jefferson Davis County Superintendent Ike Haynes. Haynes told the board that safety is one of the major priorities in the school district today. The district is currently enhancing school safety and security and in line with that has identified several factors and ways the district could be safer. “I am coming to you with a plea to reduce access to the high school and possibly save lives in a situation where there is a safety threat,” said Haynes. “All students deserve an opportunity to grown and learn in a safe and secure environment.

Haynes asked the board to consider closing a portion of Bass Burkett Road. “In a perfect world, we would have that stretch of the road annexed and become school district property.” According to Haynes, the campus is “bursting at the seams” as regards to space and parking is at a premium.

A second option Haynes proposed is to close a portion of Bass Burkett Road during school hours and school functions only therefore adding control and safety to the children and community.

“I have already surveyed several community members that live on Bassfield Cemetery Road and in wake of the school shooting that took place in Texas, the response has been resoundingly positive regarding the extra drive they would have to make around Highway 35 to get to their property.”

The closed portion of road would be from Highway 42 to the stop sign directly in front of the school and would reduce one access point to the campus.

“I don’t see any problem with it at all, it would help out tremendously,” said District 3 Supervisor Demarrio Booth.

“That is a federal highway, a federal route” said District 2 Supervisor Charles Reid. “We are going to have to consult with Les about this.”

Haynes says he will be contacting landowners adjoining school property for a possible expansion in the future.

The school district is in a lease with Jim Terrell for the land across the street from the school entrance currently being used as a parking area.

“So far, we have been blessed by the grace of God,” said Haynes. Guns were confiscated on campus during the previous school year. All campuses were on lockdown several times after threats of were made on social media.

“This is not 1970, this is 2022 and everyone has a gun. We had one of the most beautiful graduations that I have ever been a part of in May. Thirty minutes later there was a shoot-out at the Amoco. What is too much for the safety for our children?”

The board agreed to consult with the county engineer, Les Dungan, for possible options regarding road closure.

Jefferson Davis County Extension Agent Thomas Brewer approached to board requesting the purchase of a copier on state contract for his office.  His request was approved.

Justice Court Clerk Latonya Blanchard asked the board to allow her office to participate in a program provided by Southern Mississippi Planning Development District which provides a part-time summer employee at no expense to the county. The board agreed.

David Marsh, of Benchmark Corporation submitted a pay request for the new jail in the amount of $226,814.63. According to Marsh, this payment would be for electronics, security equipment, metal frames, shop drawings for the rebar and other preliminary things that must take place before the materials come on site. The board engineer confirmed everything as reasonable, and the board approved the payment request. “As of today, we wouldn’t be able to do this project for this cost,” said Marsh. “Everything has gone up so much. Ya’ll are locked in and I’m glad we got it done when we did.”

In other news, the board approved the following without opposition before it went into executive session and the meeting was adjourned:

  • Approved minutes.
  • Approved quote for fence gate at District 3 barn.
  • Approved quote for roadside brush spraying.
  • Approved quote for bush hog-District 3.
  • Approved quote for Five County Building roof.
  • Approved preparing a resolution for Ed Jackson turning 100-District 4.
  • Approved budget letter to department heads.
  • Approved employee action form-District 3.
  • Approved spreading into the minutes Employee Action Form-Sheriff’s Department.
  • Approved MASIT Board of Trustees ballot.
  • Approved payment of tire due to pothole-District 4.
  • Approved deleting asset #2406 due to duplication.
  • Approved deleting equipment from inventory-District 3.
  • Approved declaring inventory junk-District 4.
  • Approved employees attending meetings and conventions.
  • Approved overage on purchase order-District 2.
  • Approved payment of invoices.
  • Approved purchase of beer from beer wagon for one-day event.
  • Approved claims.