Valdosta > Chief Childress Addresses Security Plans for LHS Graduation

| May 22, 2015

Valdosta Police

VALDOSTA — Valdosta Police Department’s Chief Brian Childress discussed security plans for Lowndes High School graduation.

In April a group of protestors called “commUNITY Atlanta” were arrested at the Lowndes County Board of Education building. The group requested that Kendrick Johnson, a student that died in January 2013 be given an honorary diploma. The Police department has received word that the group has planned to return for LHS graduation.

“To be clear the Valdosta Police Department does not normally participate in these security activities with the high school, it is generally Lowndes County Sheriff’s Office. Because of the fact that Kendrick Johnson, who as you all know passed away in 2013 would have graduated this year, the police department has received intelligence that there might be protestors in the area, so we’ve contacted the sheriffs office and we will be handling any security and traffic control on Norman Drive, to include the sidewalks,” Chief Childress said. “The entrances to the campus and the campus itself to include the stadium where the graduation will be at, will be handled by the Lowndes County Sheriff’s Office.”

The protestors plan to return during the graduation to request that Johnson receive an honorary diploma and that his sister, Kenyetta Johnson walk at the graduation. They also asked that everyone participate in a four minute moment of silence to represent their four days of walking in April.

To avoid any protesting at graduation the VPD has organized protesting areas on Norman Drive. The areas are closed off with orange construction fencing.

“One of the things I wanted to address with y’all today is this, the police department has established what we call protest areas,” Chief Childress said. “That’s a public right of way. As long as people are out there and they’re peaceful, I’m going to allow it.” 



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