TXR parents, teachers receive answers from school officials
Wilson County Director of Schools Mike Davis and County Attorney Mike Jennings were invited to the meeting and fielded questions from the parents and teachers. The school system banned Shook from coming onto school property after a series of police reports were filed claiming Shook was harassing parents and teachers.
Shook also filed civil warrants against TXR Student Resource Officer Pete Mecher and against a parent, Ashley Davis, both of which were dismissed in Wilson County General Sessions Court on Feb. 16. Shook was also arrested that day for reportedly filing a false police report against Tennessee State Trooper William Bennett, also a parent at TXR.
Parents and teachers expressed their concern over the lack of information given to them by the school system on the steps the system has taken to resolve the issue. Davis said the Board of Education authorized Jennings to take any legal steps necessary, during its meeting on Feb. 6.
A letter was issued to Shook by the school system stating she was not allowed to come onto school property except to pick up and drop off her child. She is also not allowed to exit her vehicle or speak to anyone when picking up her daughter.
The purpose of that letter is to put her on notice that if she comes on campus she can be arrested for criminal trespassing, Jennings said.
Parents said she had been on campus, but Jennings noted the fact that she was allowed to pick up her child. He added that the letter issued to Shook is used throughout the state for these situations.
If you want her off the property and she hasnt been here since Feb. 16, the letter seems to be working, Jennings said.
The parents asked if a restraining order could be taken out against Shook, but Jennings said the letter was the right way to go. He said that if any parent or faculty member sees Shook violating the letter, they can call 911 and she can be arrested.
However, he encouraged anyone to alert a faculty member at TXR or an SRO to witness the violation. He said it would be a much stronger court case if the person witnessing the violation had professional ties to the school.
The person that witnesses it has to get the warrant, Jennings explained.
Parents also questioned why it took such a long time to have Shook banned from the property. Jennings said in November, when the Fall Festival was put on hold and security concerns were raised, he did not have an adequate amount of information to make any decisions.
He said he received more information in January that helped make a stronger case for banning Shook from the property.
I think you as a teacher at TXR are safe, the students are safe, Davis told one teacher who was concerned.
Davis also said that Shooks child was no longer enrolled at TXR, a step that he proposed last year when Shook spoke with him in his office about alleged bullying at the school. Shook had reportedly claimed her child was being bullied at school, and Jennings has previously noted the school system investigated those claims and found them to be without merit.
Davis said when he offered to grant her child an out-of-zone transfer to another local school, Shook declined.
Her daughter, in my opinion, is the victim here, Davis said and many of those in attendance agreed.
Parents and teachers said the situation has caused stress on these students, and some parents said the events have indicated to their children that one person can bully an entire school.
They said that when Wilson County Sheriff Terry Ashe removed SRO Mecher from the school on Feb. 1, students thought that the school system had given in to Shooks reported behavior.
However, Ashe has stated that Mechers movement was not a disciplinary action and he was returned to TXR shortly thereafter. Davis pointed out the school system has no control over where SROs are placed. But some parents felt the school system did not do enough to resolve the situation faster.
He thinks the people in charge of his school system have failed him, said one parent, referring to her son, who is a student at TXR.
There was also talk of the shootings at Chardon High School near Cleveland, Ohio, where a student gunman allegedly killed three students, and wounded two others. Parents said the incident has made them more concerned over the situation at TXR.
Davis assured everyone of their safety at TXR and said the Sheriffs Department and other local authorities quietly increase their alert levels and stay ready after a school shooting, just in case copycat incidents occur.
Weve got to be that much more vigilant, Davis said.
Davis also noted that in the past several months, secure vestibules have been added at many county schools, including TXR. The vestibules require staff members to grant entrance to the school building and force all visitors to enter the office first.
He pointed out the secure vestibule at TXR was not added as a result of the incidents involving Shook. He said those plans have been in the works for the past four years and said they have been adding those as money came available.
But in reference to the letter issued to Shook last month, her daughters withdrawal from TXR and the fact that she has not been on campus since Feb. 16, Jennings said, the result is encouraging.
Staff Writer Patrick Hall may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.