Resident Spotlight

Barnwell Elementary Welcomes First Responders

By Beth Dowd

As we welcome another school year, children enter the halls with excitement as they meet their teachers and see old friends. New experiences and learning opportunities lie ahead. Parents get back into the routine of schedules and bus stops. Excitement is in the air, but sending our children back to school can also bring up feelings of anxiety or stress about their safety and security.

With lawmakers in the midst of deciding the best course of action to keep our kids safe, parents and students are caught in the middle of waiting for new legislation. We’ve seen students all across our nation speaking out and adults expressing their concern about the national crisis of safety in our schools.

Every parent wants their child to be able to go to school each day to learn and play. Elementary, middle and high school students in Fulton County had shelter in place and lockdown drills during their first week of school. Whether we like it or not, the world our children face is not the same as it was 10 years ago. So educators and administrators alike are faced with new challenges of how to best protect our children.

This issue is not just a county or statewide problem to solve. Parents need to be a part of the solution too. Parents have always been the driving force behind change in the school system within the platform of PTA or individually speaking on behalf of their children.

This past March, Fulton County Schools held two public safety meetings, one in the north at Centennial High School and one in the south at Banneker High School. Superintendent Dr. Jeff Rose led the discussion on security measures, training drills and safety plans for potential scenarios. He also introduced the Fulton County Schools Police Department, other local police departments, psychologists and social workers to speak on community partnerships, mental health, and preventative strategies. At the end of both meetings, parents were invited to break into small groups to voice their concerns and offer solutions. Unfortunately, both meetings were poorly attended with only about 30 in attendance in the south and under 200 attending in the north, sending a message to our lawmakers that parents aren’t really that concerned about safety which is not the case.

Lack of voice equals lack of action in our country. We have to be the voice of our children until they can speak for themselves. Tragedy can come to any community no matter how big or small so we have to be proactive, not reactive.

Currently, Fulton County Schools Police Department supplies full-time resource officers to middle and high schools, but not elementary schools leaving them vulnerable. Thankfully, most middle school officers share time with their affiliated elementary schools at some point in the day. They drop in to check the perimeter or walk the halls before heading back to their assigned middle schools. Barnwell is very blessed to have an excellent team of dedicated officers that protect us every day.

L to R – Office Moody, Office Lemke, Principal Martin Neuhaus, Beth Dowd, Officer Rowe

Officer Rowe has 13 years of law enforcement experience with the first 6 serving the Dekalb County Police Department and the last 7 years with the Johns Creek Police Department. He has been with Barnwell the longest and we appreciate him and all of our dedicated Officers. Officer Moody, a military veteran, has over 25 years of law enforcement experience to include Clark Atlanta University Police and the Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI). She’s also a trainer for the State of Georgia covering multiple specialties such as crisis intervention, gangs, and bullying. Officer Lemke, also a military veteran, is in his 21st year of law enforcement with 20 of those serving the Fulton County Police Department. He retired last year as the SWAT Commander and has now joined Johns Creek Police Department.

States such as South Carolina, New Jersey, and Indiana have already placed full-time resource officers and metal detectors in elementary schools with other states soon to join. Unfortunately, Georgia is not on the list so parents wait to see if our Governor will follow suit. In the meantime, adults have to be creative and voice their ideas to school administrators and lawmakers.

After attending the security meeting at Centennial High School, Beth Dowd, a parent at Barnwell Elementary had the idea to create a space within Barnwell which would welcome local law enforcement, therefore, increasing police presence at the school. With the financial backing of the schools PTA and the blessing of Barnwell’s principal, Martin Neuhaus, she created “The Bear Den” a comfortable space, where officers can come in off the street to beat the heat in the summer or warm up in the winter. The room offers a coffee station, yummy snacks and assorted beverages for them to enjoy. The room is decorated with original works of art from students, expressing their appreciation for the officers. Recently, Barnwell held a meet and greet where law enforcement from both Fulton County Schools Police Department and Johns Creek Police Department came together to officially open the space.

Principal Neuhaus had this to say, “I’m grateful for all the police officers and first responders that take care of our students and families every day. We want to welcome all these civil servants to Barnwell whenever they’re in the area to come by for a cup of coffee, a bottle of water, a snack or just stop in and be appreciated. Thanks to the generosity of our PTA, we’ve created this space as an open invitation to all the great men and women who serve and protect us each day.”

Change begins at home, be the change you want to see today. Your children will thank you for it tomorrow.

Resident Spotlight: Shannon Marsh

Shannon Marsh

It takes a lot of confidence to approach an SEC team about becoming a walk-on athlete.

Johns Creek’s Shannon Marsh had that confidence, even after her senior year of high school left Marsh with increasing pain and discomfort in her hip.

Shannon, who attended Johns Creek’s Northview High School, ran cross-country and played soccer for the Titans during her four years there.

It was only natural that Shannon became a high school runner. Shannon’s first 5k was in the third grade. She continued running and getting faster through middle school and then at Northview.

Shannon developed a pain in her hip which put the brakes on her training after her senior year. Rather than allow the injury to sideline her, she sought medical help for an injury that would have been very difficult if not impossible to diagnose just 20 years ago.

Many athletes tend to push through the pain. Rest the injury and ice and hope it goes away. That was not going to be possible for the injury Shannon had. And fortunately Shannon found the right physician sooner rather than later, and who had the technology and experience to get Shannon back on the trails running as fast as possible.

Shannon Marsh4
BioPrintRGB _0004_Schrader-Tim
Dr. Schrader

Dr. Schrader has been practicing for more than 20 years. He received training at Harvard Medical School and the Muller Foundation in Switzerland and developed a special interest in pediatric, adolescent and young adult hip preservation and hip problems.

Dr. Schrader is the Medical Director of Children’s Hip Program.

I spoke with Dr. Schrader of Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta about Shannon’s injury. Shannon had femoroacetabular impingement or FAI. Had Shannon waited, this injury simply would not have gotten better on its own and would have become more debilitating.

Using some of the latest technology, Dr. Schrader was able to determine the cause of the impingement and Shannon had surgery as soon as possible. Shannon had a bony abnormality in the hip. This abnormality limited the range of Shannon’s hip, and as she tried to push the hip to the range needed for running, the pain intensified.

The solution would require surgery. In surgery, Dr. Schrader would then shave this abnormal bone growth down and restore the full motion of Shannon’s hip.

According to Dr. Schrader, FAI, or hip impingement, is becoming more and more common. And we are seeing this in younger patients because they are more active.

Johns Creek parents know this clearly. Kids today have more organized sports to choose from than ever. With that increase in activities and the intensity of those activities, there are going to be more issues that arise.

Thirty or more years ago, Shannon’s injury may have been diagnosed simply as arthritis. It would have been the end of Shannon’s athletic endeavors.

Today’s medical imaging is changing the outcomes for patients like Shannon, as advancements in surgery techniques and the tools that make it possible to remedy the problem.  “Getting the right diagnosis is critical”, said Dr. Schrader.  Shannon was able to get that right diagnosis by finding the best physician.

Surgery on her hip after her senior year running could have been a setback for some athletes, but not Shannon. Graduating from Northview, she is now a student at the University of Alabama pursuing a degree in Exercise Science and Physical Therapy.

Approaching the school’s Cross Country team about being a walk on athlete, Shannon has earned herself a spot on the roster as a freshman. She has excelled in her running and is faster than ever as she approaches her sophomore season and the Fall Cross-Country schedule.

At the SEC Cross-Country Championship held last October at the University of Georgia, Shannon posted a time of 22:34.6 in the 6000(3.728 miles) Meter Race. That’s a pace of 5:54 per mile!

Cross-Country has already started this fall and Shannon’s goal is to break 17 minutes in the 5K (3.1 miles). She has been training by running up to 70 miles a week this summer.

Shannon Marsh_

While Shannon was a student at Northview, she would do her carbo-loading( runners load up on carbohydrates before races) at Trattoria 141 in Johns Creek. Coach Mike Morris and Bill Hedgecock were both positive influences for Shannon while she attended Northview High School. Shannon also shops for running gear at Fleet Feet Sports located in Johns Creek.

“Why do you love to run” was the question we asked Shannon. “Running is a sport where your hard work shows up at the starting line, you go from start to finish”.

Shannon has found a variety of places to run those 70 miles per week. Some of her favorite places are Kennesaw Mountain, the Big Creek Greenway in Forsyth County, and the trails near the Fish Hatchery, just south of Lake Lanier.

In the not too distant future, Shannon would also like to compete in the 10K on the track and has set a goal of two marathon races-one being the Boston Marathon.

When you are a runner, there are no shortcuts. Your training must be completed by only you. Shannon is proving that when faced with an injury, you can get the proper attention. And then you can be off to the races.

Good Luck Shannon!

By: Ernest Moosa

Fun Fact!

Shannon can run the entire length of the City of Johns Creek, faster than motor vehicles, during rush hour!