Beaufort County is considering school safety changes.
The proposed changes, which are expected to cost $250,000, address student mental health, add more school resource officers to the community college and public schools, and include design changes.
“You think about these buildings we are dealing with, when they were constructed, school safety issues were not an issue, and they are now,” said Don Phipps, Beaufort County superintendent.
Along with security audits of schools,
New cameras, plus more secure doorways and corridors, are being considered to improve the physical layout, along with security audits of the schools.
Phipps said a major concern is more training for crisis situations.
.”With law enforcement, with our Sheriff’s Office, if you had an active shooter situation, what are the responsibilities of the individuals?” said Phipps. “Do the students know what they need to do? Do the teachers know what they need to do?”
He hopes to hold training as early as the summer for teachers regarding the mental health of students.
There could also be personnel changes.
The goal is to add a social worker to the school district to reach out to struggling individuals and their families, as well as to get a resource officer in every school.
For P.S. Jones Middle School Principal Tracy Nixon, that’s important.
“I can’t imagine not having one,” said Nixon. “I know it comes to funding. I know they meet in May, and I hope that is one of their top priorities.”
County commissioners will meet next month to discuss the budget, and school leaders hope to receive money from the commissioners or through grants for the safety changes.
“There has to be a safe place,” said Phipps. “Safe emotionally, safe physically; that is why it is important.”
Phipps and Nixon said they hope ideas like these will turn into positive change on campuses throughout the county.