Letter to the editor: More security needed at schools

Published 10:33 am Thursday, July 28, 2022

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To the editor:

To all parents of public school children, school board members, Superintendent Jeff Wallace, Sheriff J.D. Hartman, county commissioners, and everyone who cares about our schools, our children, our teachers and school staff:

We are writing as a result of all the gun violence that has been happening in schools, at athletic events and other school functions all over America. After the tragedy in Uvalde, Texas we read about our Superintendent Wallace meeting with law enforcement, maintenance staff and administrators to make sure all protocols in our safety plans were being followed. Although we do appreciate Superintendent Wallace’s efforts to review all our safety procedures in our schools, we think we need to do more.

My wife and I have spent over 60 years in the Davie County School System and we understand the difficulties in budgeting and allotments from the state, federal, and local government and insuring that all funds are being spent on what they are allotted for. With that being said, we also understand that with creativity monies can be moved, grants applied for, and fund raisers (if it takes it) to do more.

With all doors being locked at all times and one entrance available into the school where office staff have to let someone in is a great start for safety. However, what happens when there is an event where parents and grandparents or others visit the schools for an award day or athletic event or whatever? We were at the Christmas tournament in Salisbury in December where there was a shooting. This was in the lobby outside the gym and two young people were hit. We had left the gym the game before and were not there but were horrified that this happened knowing we left a gym full of people.

It did not take the Rowan County School Board more than a week to decide to add people with metal detector wands to the front door of athletic events as well ban backpacks and other large bags from events with the exception of diaper and medical bags that will be searched. They also went on to contract with security firms to provide metal detector wands and trained paid school staff and volunteers, who may be used as backups. They formed a task force to continue toward getting permanent metal detectors in place as well as the detector wands.  One board member was quoted as saying, “This is not something that parents and grandparents should have to deal with.”

We would like to see a resource officer at every school every day. And that officer being at the front where people enter the building and a metal detector for each student and for anyone entering the building to pass through. If another entrance is used, for an example – bus students entering through another door, then another detector should be placed at that entrance. Also, for any event inside the building either a detector wand or passing through the metal detector is a must.

At our basketball camp this year we hired a Davie County deputy to be there each day for the safety of our campers and volunteers. Now we know people will say what about the outside sporting events. That’s a tough one, but other systems have the metal detectors at football games for people to walk through and no backpacks or athletic bags are allowed – only clear see-through bags are allowed.  At other games such as softball and baseball having an officer attend could help. We attended some basketball games in Forsyth County this year and they used a metal detector wand and had a sign that read only clear bags allowed and they searched our handbags.

We know this will be expensive but doing everything in our power to protect these precious lives is priceless. As we stated before, there are a number of ways to get money for things that arise.

After Covid became a part of all of our lives, when school started back we were sure that would constitute a nurse at each school every day. When Frances Tutterow was in charge of the nursing program in the schools, there was a nurse at every school every day. An office employee should not be responsible for giving medicine or dressing wounds or handling a medical emergency. Enough said.

We have two teachers, foiur grandchildren, one great-grandson upcoming in the Davie County School System and we want them to have a safe secure learning environment.  Surely, it’s not going to take a tragedy for something to be done.

Grimes and Fran Parker