Rome City Schools call special meeting after guns found on campus

ROME, Ga. (CBS46) - Parents and residents blasted Rome school board members during a special called meeting at the central office on Friday.

“We’re going to lose staff, we’re going to lose students because you’re in a reactive mode right now and that is not acceptable to this community,” concerned resident Charles Love said.

Officials discussed failed security measures after two students walked into Rome High School this week with loaded guns.

“I think that it is important to look toward the police department to work with the schools to enact a gang task force,” School parent Emily Strickland said.

“Here we are at the beginning of the school year with no leadership. No Superintendent, no principal at the high school. What they’re talking about today is total reaction,” Love said.

School officials said a 15-year-old Rome High School student was spotted with a gun and marijuana in his backpack on Wednesday. Then on Thursday, a 16-year-old student was seen on campus with a loaded gun in the pocket of his jacket.

“The concern right now is I don’t think is a school shooter and the type that we hear about in the news right now most of the people are concerned about, but the gang activity at Rome High School is getting out of control and the fear is that the gang violence will spill into the school and that students will get caught in the crossfire,” Strickland said.

Both students were taken to a juvenile detention center and now officials are discussing plans to beef up security.

“We’re looking for deterrents. One, the staff has to get together and make sure that they are enforcing all the rules and protocols of the school, and two Rome High School has a lot of entrances and so making sure doors are closed,” Interim Superintendent Dawn Williams said.

“Again, it’s a reactionary mode, this is something that should have been done during the summer,” Love said.

Rome City Schools observed a flexible learning day Friday to review safety and security measures on school campuses. The emergency meeting was only open to the public for about half an hour before the board voted to go into the executive session.

During that short public portion, no next steps for safety were voted on. And it is still unclear if any steps were taken behind closed doors.

CBS46 did speak with a school official who said they are working on implementing tighter security next week.

No weapons were reported found across the Clayton County School District during the beginning of the 2022 school year, a Clayton County School Department official confirmed to CBS46 News on Friday.

Another official for the Atlanta Public School Department also confirmed there have been no reported firearms on any school campus reported since school began on Monday.

Adam Murphy

Adam Murphy

Adam Murphy is veteran journalist with 22 years of television news experience. Adam has been the Consumer Investigative reporter at WGCL-TV CBS46 in Atlanta since 2003.