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After Gun Incidents, Parents Attend Terry Parker High Forum On School Safety

Lindsey Kilbride

School officials are trying to keep kids safe at school. That’s what they told parents Thursday evening at Jacksonville’s Terry Parker High School.

Recent incidents include teens’ being arrested for a shooting near a bus stop and a loaded gun on campus.

Terry Parker Principal Megan Pardue talked about her school’s anti-violence strategy. There’s a focus on keeping kids at school all day, making sure they’re not leaving without permission. She says fighting is on the decline.

Pardue suggests parents should monitor teens social media, and if parents have concerns about their child, let her know.

“The school cannot fix a problem if we don’t know that there is a problem, so please communicate,” she told about two dozen people in attendance. “In addition, discuss your child’s day with him or her. And it’s really, really important to build relationships, so I challenge everybody here tonight to go home and ask your child who are the three adults that they can talk to here at the school if there was an issue.”

Terry Parker High School
Credit Lindsey Kilbride / WJCT News

Duval's executive director of discipline, Michael McAuley, says the district focuses on intervention and less on suspension. Grant money has helped support good behavior, he says. This year, high schools including Terry Parker started using the HERO point system. When students do a good deed or make an improvement, they earn points to redeem toward field trips and school parties.

It’s what Terry Parker Senior William Dayson says is helping keep him in class.

“I’ll help with the teacher in class, anything they need, help with going to the front office or erasing stuff off the board, anything they need help with, I help them,” Dayson says.

No parents wanted to be interviewed, but during the meeting one woman said she was concerned about overcrowding in the lunchroom.

Lindsey Kilbride was WJCT's special projects producer until Aug. 28, 2020. She reported, hosted and produced podcasts like Odd Ball, for which she was honored with a statewide award from the Associated Press, as well as What It's Like. She also produced VOIDCAST, hosted by Void magazine's Matt Shaw, and the ADAPT podcast, hosted by WJCT's Brendan Rivers.