Sumner Co. Students Return To Schools With Heightened Security
GALLATIN, Tenn. - Students returning to school after winter break- may notice some changes. The Sandy Hook Elementary school shooting has spurred administrators to step up security. Now Sumner County is the latest district asking for more money to make additional improvements.
"Lock doors at all times because when they're not in there the perpetrator could come into their classrooms, hided behind bookshelves or whatever and wait for the kids," Lance Taylor, Principal of Guild Elementary School said about one of the changes.
One thousand miles from Newtown, Connecticut Guild Elementary School in Sumner County will never be the same.
"I'm not sure we can eliminate evil but hopefully we can slow it down," Taylor said. "That spurred us to increase security that we probably needed to do."
When students arrived from winter break things were different.
"So that's part of the new process, being at certain stations, certain times of the day," bookkeeper Lynn Kennedy explained about how the staff is being more vigilant. "To watch for parents, signing in. That type of thing."
Security is much tighter ensuring that they know who comes in and out of the building at all times.
"I've just noticed you can't just go in the door, walk up anymore and go in the door," grandparent Joyce Hunt said. "It's great."
Still district leaders say more still needs to be done. On Tuesday, January 8th the school board plans to approve a formal request to County Commissioners.
"I think every elementary school, middle school, high school in America needs an (School Resource Officer)," Lewis said. "We have eight cameras and we need about twenty more. That's one of the things I'm going to ask for."
They're all proactive measures in hopes of keeping students and staff safe.
"We are cautious but we're not going to be fearful."
The school board is specifically expected to ask commissioners for twenty School Resource Officers for middle and some elementary schools. They'll also ask to retrofit the entrances of some schools to make them safer. But it's still unclear how much this will cost.
You may remember the start of the school year was delayed this summer, while Commissioners and school board members were in the midst of a heated budget battle. School leaders hope past issues can be overlooked as they address these new concerns.