Lenoir County approves paying for new school safety measures

School Watch
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Lenoir County Commissioners met Monday and approves a funding request to increase school safety.

Lenoir County Public Schools asked the board for $570,000 to purchase and install safety equipment.

With 17 schools in the county, the district wants to ensure every school is armed with the latest safety measures.

Linda Rouse Sutton is the Vice Chair of the Board of Commissioners. 

“I don’t think we can afford to wait,” said Sutton. “It was just time to bite the bullet because if you don’t, you never will.”

But, not every board member was quick to say yes. Eric Rouse wanted clarification about the allocation of the funds. 

“Nobody is opposed to making schools safer for children but what I am opposed to is when we get a one-page document that requested 570,000 dollars and there’s no back up to it,” said Rouse. “I think it’s irresponsible to just vote on something based on one sheet of paper that has no back up with it.”

Only four schools have a buzz-in camera system in place that secretaries use to identify visitors before unlocking the doors.

Some schools have indoor and outdoor video surveillance, while others have keypads staff must swipe a card across to unlock doors.

Parents like Carlos Torrencee are glad the board of education is receiving the funds. 

“In this day and time, it’s necessary,” said Torrencee. “It’s a shame that this keeps happening and it’s happening so much that it’s not even uncommon anymore.” 

The requested funds would make upgrades to all 17 schools and have them all on the same level of standard security.

Superintendent Brent Williams said the district has been upgrading in increments the past few years and the funds now are a one-time request.

“Certainly, I want all parents to know we are doing everything we can to provide the safest opportunity at school every day for every single student,” said Williams.

The next phase of the approval is for the board of education to begin entertaining bids for what cameras, types of locks and key pads for teachers. 

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