Assistant Superintendent for Cobb school safety appointed
With the ink barely dry on the recent vote to have arms within schools, the Cobb County Board of Education voted Thursday to appoint Joshua Morreale, a longtime Osborne High School Principal to the newly created position of assistant superintendent for school safety.
In a 6-0 vote, that did not include any discussion, the board approved creating the position and appointing Morreale unanimously following an executive session to discuss personnel matters.
In a news release, board officials said that Morreale “will directly oversee the District’s school safety initiatives.” Morreale has served as Osborne’s principal for more than a decade, having been appointed in June 2011. Prior to leading Osborne, he was an assistant principal at South Cobb High School.
His appointment comes two weeks after the board’s Republican majority approved Superintendent Chris Ragsdale’s request to add armed, non-police security personnel to schools, a new policy billed as a way to improve safety in case of a mass shooting.
Cobb school board Chairman David Chastain seemed unsure as he described the position saying Morreale “will be looking at the infrastructure, making sure that things are secure, expediting changes that need to be made … (be) on-site with our people when there’s a drill, so that during the debrief, that person can make the notes and say, ‘OK, there’s certain things that we need to look at … and make the recommendations to the superintendent.”
Chastain did say that Morreale will not have oversight of the district’s 67-officer police force. “My understanding is this, it’ll be basically infrastructure, the hardware, basically, or a policy that affects how it’s used,” Chastain said. “That’s my understanding, but again, remember, we’ve got a person in place, now we’ve got to build on that to figure out which direction, how we’re gonna get there. And that’s all under the superintendent’s purview, the board is not micromanaging that process.”
Although it passed, that new policy saw fierce opposition from protesters at the meeting when a group argued during public comment that increasing the number of guns in schools, and allowing employees who are not certified police officers to wield them, would not make schools safer.
The group later stood up during the meeting and chanted “delay the vote,” leading Chastain to call a 10-minute recess. The board eventually returned, continued the meeting despite the chants, and approved the policy along party lines. The new policy will not allow the district to arm teachers. Instead, non-police security will be required to go through training and background checks.