School Safety: Professionals keep our students safe

Vienna residents already know what an asset they have in Vienna Police Officer Adam Jones’s service as the prevention resource officer at Jackson Middle School. They know he is more than deserving of the accolades and awards such as the “Adam-12 5 Gold Star Award” he received last week during a ceremony that included many local officials and U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va.

“Last day of school, kids everywhere,” Jones said, referring to the events of June 7, when a tip from the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives led authorities to believe there was a credible threat of an intended shooting at Jackson.

There were 480 students throughout the grounds of the school, as they celebrated the annual student Olympics on the last day of classes. And yet, “We had all students inside (in) under four minutes, and everybody was accounted for in under six minutes,” Jones said.

Anyone who has tried to get four kids — forget about 480 — to go in the same direction quickly knows what a feat that is.

But Jones knows how to do his job very well, and the plan put in place by local law enforcement and Wood County Schools was executed perfectly.

Parents were grateful to learn not only that the threat turned out to be a bit of a misunderstanding, but that there is an effective plan –and the right people –in place to take care of their kids should a real emergency arise.

Jones, however, took pains to use the word “we,” to explain the efforts of the day were “not just a one-person job,” and to speak on behalf of his fellow school resource officers:

“Student safety is important to not only Vienna but Wood County and all throughout the state,” he said. “I want to accept this award on behalf of all of them for what we do every day.”

As another school year arrives it is important for parents to understand there are men and women like Jones throughout the state, who care just as much about keeping kids safe while they learn. We are fortunate to have Jones here watching over our kids, but we should be grateful to ALL of them.