JACKSONVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) – Tensions are still high following a shooting on the second day of school, across the street from White Oak High School involving students.
Many parents brought their concerns on safety to Tuesday night’s three-hour-long Onslow County Board of Education meeting, hoping to get answers.
At the beginning of the meeting, Board of Education member Louis Rogers asked to have a closed session added to the agenda to discuss the security assessment conducted by an external company last year.
“Considering the circumstances from last year and this year, I believe it’s relative that we understand why it’s not being expedited at this point,” said Rogers.
It was decided that issue would be discussed at a later date, which upset audience members. Dozens of parents spoke out during the public comment section voicing their anger and disappointment to the board.
“Why are we saying ‘Oh, if that happens to my child, I don’t know what I would do if that happened to my child. We need to start saying when that’s going to happen to my child,” said Mandi Frank, the mother of the student injured in the shooting.
“Why does the football field on White Oak High School have a metal detector, but the front doors to our schools don’t?” asked Sara Wadsworth.
“It’s time you act, instead of pretending to do your job that everyone is paying you for,” said another parent, Maggie Eaton.
Parents also voiced their concerns about how they are going to afford clear backpacks, a change implemented after the shooting.
“We asked before school started, do we need clear book bags? And we were told no,” said Diana Davis. “So now you want us to drop another hundred dollars, and when you live paycheck to paycheck, we cannot do that.”
At the end of the meeting, the superintendent and board informed parents that clear bags would be supplied to anyone who needed them.
“Clear backpacks isn’t the only answer. It takes multiple layers to secure schools. It takes multiple layers to secure the communities that spill over into our schools. We’ve had that conversation before too, that is where it takes you all in the community. When you see something, say something,” said Board of Education member, Melissa Oakley.
Despite that, many parents left during their comments, unhappy with the answers.
“I’m here for a purpose and that purpose is not my own. For those people who care to say that, ‘Oh you’re getting a lot of money,’ check our paychecks,” said board member Bill Lanier.
Onslow County Sheriff Chris Thomas added that the shooting is still under investigation. He hopes to release an update soon.