Fulton police, school officials meet to discuss ways to curb violence between students

FULTON COUNTY, Ga. — For the first time, police chiefs from every department in Fulton County joined school district officials to figure out how to better combat violence in schools.

Channel 2′s Audrey Washington was at the Fulton County Government Center where officials said much of the violence starts with threats online.

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In fact, district officials and police acknowledged that some students have entirely different lives online, and some of those social media issues spill into the classroom.

“Social media has been the greatest distraction and disruption event in relation to schools and learning that I’ve seen in my lifetime,” said Dr. Mike Looney, superintendent for Fulton County Schools.

Social media and its role in school violence was the central focus during Thursday’s Fulton County Youth and School Safety Summit.

Fulton County Commissioner Robb Pitts headed the summit, which gathered school district officials, the district attorney’s office and police chiefs from every department in Fulton County.

“It has to stop,” Pitts said. “Immediate solutions, not necessarily long term, but something that we can leave here today with.”

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In January, Channel 2 told you about a stabbing that left two students injured at Banneker High School.

In 2018, police arrested a North Fulton County Middle School student who made threats on social media.

And just this Wednesday, an officer shot a mother who came to Booker T. Washington High School with a weapon.

“The situation at Washington High School, hours before we met today, so I know this is the time for this to happen,” Pitts said.

Fulton County Police Chief Wade Yates told Washington that better communication between law enforcement agencies would help.

“The different police departments can speak electronically instead of making phone calls,” Wade said.

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Officials also talked about providing more in-depth mental health services for students.

“It’s going to take the collective community to come together and make school safety a priority,” Looney said.

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