School safety petition touts nearly 400 signaturesPublished 4:04pm Wednesday, February 20, 2013
By CHRISTINE BOATWRIGHT / Staff Writer
An online petition urging the Shelby County Board of Education to implement plans for law enforcement officers in the county’s schools has reached nearly 400 signatures as of Feb. 20.
Ty Coffey, a banker and husband of a local educator, started the petition at Safeshelbycountyschools.com after a gunman entered Chelsea Middle School Feb. 12.
“It’s a joint petition to the Shelby County Commission to give the funds to the sheriff and also for the Board of Education to actually do something,” Coffey said. “It’s the fiduciary responsibility of the Board of Education to provide a safe place for students and faculty to go to school.”
Coffey said he has heard from school employees, but many are “scared” to sign the petition. He referenced the 307th signature, from a “school board employee.”
“I have worked for the Shelby County School Board for over 20 years,” the signature stated. “I have seen much happen during my tenure. We have always had to make changes to keep up with the times. Please help us! There are many BOE employees who would sign this if they feared they would not lose their job.”
Coffey said he is meeting with elected officials to learn more about their budgets and funding available.
“I want to see our educators and students safe when they go to school,” he said. “Having a deputy at Chelsea didn’t stop the gunman, but the sheriff can mitigate evil and violence in a matter of seconds. The officer was working on the situation immediately. To me, that’s proof positive the sheriff’s plan works.”