Visitors at Lowndes Co. Schools required to show ID for sex offender check


By Ri’Shawn Bassette | November 18, 2019 at 11:12 PM EST – Updated November 19 at 12:01 AM

LOWNDES CO., Ga. (WALB) – The new Lowndes County School System’s ID system checks all visitors to see if they’re on the national sex offender registry. It’s being implemented all across the county school system, including the Board of Education.

Everyone is required to have their ID checked against the sex-offender registry at all Lowndes County Schools.

Everyone is required to have their ID checked against the sex-offender registry at all Lowndes County Schools. (Source: WALB)

“I’ve never had to show my ID until today,” said Raymond Walker.

Walker is a father od a student at Hahira Middle School. He said that he forgot his ID walking up to the school.

Principal Ivy Smith said he wasn’t the first to do so since they’ve implemented the new system over the last couple of weeks.

Raymond Walker is the father of a student at Hahira Middle School.

Raymond Walker is the father of a student at Hahira Middle School. (Source: WALB)

“It’s just an added safety measure for our students and our staff,” said Smith.

Still getting used to new the process that checks for sex offenders, Walker entered the school and had to run back to his car to get his ID. He said he didn’t mind at all because he’s proud of the school system for taking added steps to ensure everyone’s safety.

“I think it’s a great idea. I really admire the steps they’re taking to keep all of the children safe,” said Walker. “You have so many school shootings, people coming in that’s not even supposed to be there and wreaking havoc on everybody involved. I just think it’s a great idea. Every step they can take to make the school safer, I’m all in for it.”

Similar to how Smith said she’s all in, being that it’s her duty to ensure the safety of the entire campus.

“The world we live in, in this day and age, you cannot be overprotective. Having this added measure certainly makes me feel safe and makes me feel more comfortable overseeing the safety of our students and staff,” said Smith.

Principal Ivy Smith

Principal Ivy Smith (Source: WALB)

Smith said that she thinks the new system is just a testament to student safety being the top priority of the Lowndes County School System.

“I foresee that we will use it for several years. I’m sure as technology expands, there may be a time where we are searching other things other than what it currently is. I think moving forward, we’re on the right path,” said Smith.

Walker said that any school across the nation not using a system like this one needs to get it.

School leaders said that those that don’t have proper ID or that come up flagged, will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.

Copyright 2019 WALB. All rights reserved.


Registered sex offender fired from Dawson Fire Dept.


By Marilyn Parker| May 16, 2019 at 7:49 AM EDT – Updated May 16 at 7:49 AM

DAWSON, Ga. (WALB) – Dawson’s public safety director said he’s to blame for re-hiring a registered sex offender at the fire department.

The firefighter, Norrick Brown, has now been dismissed from the department.

Dawson Public Safety Director Tommy Poupard said he wasn’t aware Brown was a registered sex offender, until WALB got a tip about it, and contacted Poupard.

Now, he said he’s going to be more careful when reviewing applications.

Have you ever wondered who is under the masks, fighting fires in your neighborhood?

“Norrick Brown had worked with us in the past. He got in some trouble. I thought I knew what it was, but it appears I didn’t,” said Poupard.

Poupard said he didn’t know Brown had been accused of sending sexual messages to a 13-year-old girl, according to WALB’s archives in 2013.

“Well that was news to us, so I went to do some checking,” he said.

It wasn’t until WALB reached out to Poupard Tuesday when the station got a tip about Brown’s re-hiring.

Now, after the district attorney’s office said he pleaded guilty to sexual battery in 2014, Brown is listed as a registered sex offender on the GBI website.

“I dropped the ball on it. I should’ve performed a little more due diligence but thankfully we caught,” he explained.

The assistant district attorney told WALB Brown was sentenced to five years probation.

Poupard said on Brown’s application it only stated battery as a prior offense, as well as three references from within the department.

“All three with the fire department here in Dawson, and they were happy to see him back. He was a good firefighter,” he said.

But Poupard said being a good firefighter is not enough for him to remain on the force.

Moving forward, he said they’re looking into adding more questions to job applications, if legally allowed.

“Because of the people, we deal with the public, we just can’t have that perception sitting there,” he explained.

WALB did try to get the court documents for Brown’s case, but the court has sealed them from the public.

Poupard said he’s been in contact with the Dawson interim city manager about changing applications to ask for more information.

The city manager did not want to comment.

Copyright 2019 WALB. All rights reserved.


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