RIPLEY, WV (WOWK) – Following safety concerns from students and parents, the Jackson County, West Virginia School Board discussed some possible solutions Thursday night.

In April 2022, a student brought a firearm on a school bus, which was quickly handled when another student alerted the driver. However, since then, parents have voiced concerns over student safety in schools.

In a continuous effort to improve safety in this school district Superintendent William Hosaflook, after talking with Jackson County Sheriff Ross Mellinger suggested they expand their shield program, starting with the addition of a program coordinator.

Retired Ravenswood Police Officer Tom Speece is expected to take on the new title. He says one of his goals is to use the position to be more available to students and staff if a dangerous situation were to arise.

“Any information that has come to us or any agency in this county more than likely has come from a kid… A concerned kid that has said something to a teacher or myself or someone in that building. With these kids, they’re the eyes and ears,” Speece said Thursday night.

This will be in collaboration with the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office to ensure that possibly dangerous situations are dealt with the right way before it’s too late.

Sheriff Ross Mellinger says taking swift action is becoming more of a necessity every day. “Complacency will get your kids killed and ignorance will make you famous. If those two were ever to align in the perfect storm, Jackson County will be in a very very dark place,” Mellinger said during the meeting.

In addition to the new position, Sheriff Mellinger says their hope is to move quickly with getting this approved and to eventually have “code red” alarms installed in every school and train students of all ages to understand what needs to be done when it sounds.

The Jackson County School Board will be discussing this subject further at their next meeting.