Tennessee schools director says ‘I have other things to worry about’ than school safety

The Grundy County Director of Schools walked back comments he made during a heated school board meeting.
Published: Apr. 28, 2023 at 7:53 PM CDT
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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WSMV) - A Tennessee director of schools had to walk back a comment about school safety after he said he had “other things to do than worrying about our schools being secure” during a board meeting on Thursday night.

Grundy County Director of Schools Dr. Clint Durley quickly apologized after the comment was made at the Grundy County School Board meeting on Thursday night.

The comment came from Durley after a heated discussion about having school resource officers or SROs at every school.

“How about you let the Sheriff and his officers protect our children and community? Instead, you hire rent-a-cops with no formal training,” someone said at the Grundy County School Board meeting on Thursday.

The comment came months of building frustration for Grundy County School parents.

In response, Durley said: “I’m at a point where I have other things to worry about, other things to do than worrying about our schools being secure. That didn’t come out right. It is a concern of mine for the schools to be secure, I apologize.”

In September 2022, Grundy County Schools allegedly didn’t have school resource officers. Last month, SROs were still absent due to a disputed contract between the sheriff and director of schools’ office.

“We’re still waiting to settle the MOU to get our SROs into the schools,” Grundy County Sheriff Heath Gunter said.

According to CNN, the contract between Grundy County Schools and the sheriff’s office remains unsigned, but the sheriff said they’ve agreed to let deputies patrol the schools until it is signed.

When asked about whether SROs are back in Grundy schools, the sheriff responded that there are SROs in schools.

Gunter said a decision was made several weeks ago.

“We’ve been providing security for quite a while now, both inside the school and outside the school,” Gunter said.

With deputies patrolling the schools, the contract discussion was postponed for the next school year, according to CNN.

Since the deadly shooting at The Covenant School in Nashville in March, Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee has been pushing for state funding to put an armed officer in every public school.