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These Cherokee Bluff students get answers on safety, shutdown from state school superintendent
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State School Superintendent Richard Woods answers questions during class Tuesday, Jan. 8, at Cherokee Bluff High School in Flowery Branch. - photo by For The Times

Students at Cherokee Bluff High in South Hall got a rare visit on Tuesday, Jan. 8, but they were ready for the occasion.

Georgia Schools Superintendent Richard Woods answered student questions about school safety, the ongoing shutdown of the federal government, local control over schools and potential changes to the school calendar, among others.

Jeremy Purdy, the Advanced Placement Government teacher at Cherokee Bluff High, said students in his class had discussed and prepared the questions for the superintendent in advance.

“It was very beneficial to my class because he discussed the relationship with the federal and state levels of education, and he spoke about policies from the past and what he wants to accomplish since being re-elected to his current position,” Purdy said. “He was very responsive to their questions.”

Purdy said his students were given an insider’s look at how Woods campaigned for office, how he directs educational policies and what priorities he believes Georgia families have for public education.

School security, in particular, was a pressing question for the students, something they had addressed with candidates running for the board of education last fall.

“That was one of the important questions they wanted to bring forward” again, Purdy said. “I feel like that is an important issue for them.”

The Georgia House and Senate launched study committees last year to explore how to improve security on school campuses, and allocated some funding for initial safety upgrades.

The committees have recommended that legislators pursue, among other items, the creation of a statewide threat management team to coordinate school safety and security resources through the

State Sen. Butch Miller, R-Gainesville, president pro tempore, told The Times in December that he expects school safety legislation and funding to be a “very high priority” in the 2019 legislative session.

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