State's largest school district to hire officers to focus on bullying, social media threats

GWINNETT COUNTY, Ga. — Students may notice more officers on patrol at Gwinnett County Schools.

Eight new officers are now assigned to elementary schools.

Channel 2 Action News learned with the police expansion comes a specific focus on bullying prevention and social media threats.

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“Maybe police being there will make some people feel more comfortable, maybe it may make others feel not so comfortable but let’s just hope it works out for the best,” one parent said.

There are high hopes for a Gwinnett County parent, as eight new officers take on positions at area elementary schools.

“As the kids get to know you as a positive interaction, they are more likely to come to you when there is an issue,“ Gwinnett County Public Schools Police Cpt. Bill Wellmaker said.

The new officers will spread out across four zones, rotating and visiting their part of the 89 elementary schools in the district.

Pretty soon, some officers will be specifically dedicated to investigating threats and bullying on social media.

“From the school safety perspective, you have to treat each post as a real threat until you can prove it otherwise,” Capt. Bill Wellmaker said.

This year, the district changed its tip line, so students can text in information instead of leaving a voice message.

They say the changes and expansion are part of a nationwide trend in schools.

“There's been a big emphasis on school safety coast-to-coast,” Wellmaker said.