EBR schools security plan includes 'tactical response team' for upcoming school year
BATON ROUGE - Creating a new specialized response team for campus disturbances is among the top priorities for the East Baton Rouge Schools Department of Security in the coming weeks.
The department, run by EBRSO Captain Rodney Walker, laid out its systemwide plan before the EBR School Board Thursday night. During the presentation, Walker explained they had not only ordered handheld metal detectors for campuses based on grade level but that deputies had recently assessed the need for more fencing on campuses.
Among the itemized, monthly goals for May is forming a four-person, SWAT-trained "Tactical Response Team" for the 2023-2024 school year. Walker added that he wanted to have at least 35 school resource officers available on a daily basis.
There are also plans to implement specialized training for school resource officers over the summer.
"This is something we need, and we can't feel as if we know everything," Walker said. "Things change, times change, and we don't want to ride a horse when it's time to drive a car... We're going to develop training plans that deal with de-escalation and conflict resolution."
The roadmap presentation comes after not only another deadly school shooting in Tennessee — which further exacerbated concerns about campus security nationwide — but amid reports of rampant fighting at EBR schools that have some teachers afraid to show up for work.
A particularly violent melee erupted just last month at a Baton Rouge school, where roughly 200 parents and students got involved. Not only did the fight lead to several arrests, but it triggered criticism over how deputies handled the situation after a video surfaced showing one officer slamming a student into a brick wall.
The East Baton Rouge Sheriff's Office defended the deputy's actions, saying the 17-year-old student repeatedly struck the officer and tried to bite him, though the department also acknowledged it was reviewing how the chaotic brawl was handled.