Local school district's student population explodes in recent years

JACKSON COUNTY, Ga. — Students in Jefferson and Commerce head back to school this morning,

It’s also the Jefferson district's 200 year anniversary.

A lot of new things are happening this year, including a new soccer field and upgrades to the football stadium.

Channel 2's Darryn Moore learned from the school superintendent that the student population has exploded.

About 10 years ago the city had 900 students, and it could reach 4,000 by the end of the school year.

A team of construction workers have been tackling the creation of new fieldhouse and upgrades at Memorial Stadium

They hope to finish the job before the first home football game.

“Our football schedule plays in our favor this year, two games away then the third week is an open week,” said Superintendent John Jackson.

Jackson said they have a backup plan if the sports complex is not ready.

“We do an away game hopefully we won't have to revert to that,” Jackson said.

Jackson also spoke about the growing student population.

“We'll open with about 3,800 and may hit 4,000,” Jackson said.

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How the schools protect 4,000 students

Protecting nearly 4,000 students who attend Jefferson City Schools is a top priority and the discussion about arming teachers with guns triggered a debate.

“It is really terrifying to think about the fact that I could be in a classroom with a teacher that just has a gun somewhere,” said student Ella Phillips.

The discussion was tabled in the spring at a school board meeting.

The superintendent said nothing is off the table when it comes to preventing school violence.

“Some of this crazy continues and if it comes close to home, we'll have to take that in consideration,” Jackson said.

Some parents think it’s dangerous to allow teachers to carry guns.

“There could be unintended shootings or accidental shootings. How are these going to be stored? What kind of guns are these going to be?” said parent Jamie Mitchum.

Right now, there are several safety measures to protect students, like keyless doors.

“That's the number one variable, is locking doors and restricting access to school buildings,” Jackson said.

Jefferson City police are minutes if not seconds away if there's a threat.

“When we contact them, they are here “Johnny on the spot,” so that's comforting,” Jackson said.

School officials will continue to upgraded security measures.

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