JACKSON COUNTY, WV (WOWK) — During Thursday’s Board meeting, Jackson County Schools Superintendent William Hosaflook announced that there are talks to expand the county’s “Shield Program.”

The Shield Program is a partnership between the Jackson County Sheriff’s Department and Jackson County Schools that requires the Sheriff and his deputies to spend a few hours each week patrolling a school in the county.

Jackson County Sheriff Ross Mellinger said at the time this was in response to an event that unfolded in April 2022 when a 15-year-old student brought a handgun onto a school bus at Ripley Middle School.

The safety program began at the beginning of the 2022-2023 school year.

At Thursday’s Board of Education, Hosaflook said that the Jackson County Commission and Sheriff Mellinger met with him to try to expand the Shield Program in response to recent safety concerns. Hosaflook said the Board of Education would have to vote on it to become implemented.

In October 2022, an 18-year-old and three juveniles were arrested after an alleged sexual abuse incident at Ripley High School, according to court documents. On Sunday, deputies arrested a minor after they received a call about a school shooting threat that was planned at Ripley Middle School.