The Carroll County Board of Education on Monday night approved additional security at two schools.
Board members approved funding for the SHIELDS security system at Bowdon Middle and Sharp Creek Elementary, which will increase the number of county schools with that system to six.
The school board also approved a change in district attendance lines to help even out the number of students in schools. The change will become effective in August.
Glanton-Hindsman Elementary in Villa Rica was the fourth school approved to install the SHIELDS security system in February. Ithica Elementary, Roopville Elementary and Villa Rica Middle are the other schools with the system.
SHIELDS is a security system that allows a school to lock down certain parts of the school building, such as hallways and doors, in order to slow down an intruder until law enforcement arrives.
“The safety and security of students and staff is the top priority of the Carroll County Schools System,” said Assistant Superintendent Terry Jones. “Each school has a safety team that oversees the implementation of the school safety plan and the training of staff and students. There is also a district-level safety team that works with each school to ensure school safety plans are reviewed and revised as needed and plans for the Safety Summit each summer.”
Jones said the district safety team has traveled to Emmitsburg, Maryland, twice since 2010 to attend the Federal Level School Safety and Security Certification class.
“Earlier this month the district safety team met with our partners from local law enforcement and first responders to debrief the recent safety concerns,” Jones said. “The discussion provided good feedback as to what steps the district might take moving forward.”
Jones told the school board that each school has created a safety plan that outlines what is done at the school level in the event of a crisis.
“Each staff member at the school level is assigned a specific job or task to be responsible for in light of a crisis,” he said. “This plan is vetted by the school safety team as well as the district safety team and is nested in the District Level Safety Plan.
“The district allocated a$1.3 million to upgrade the schools’ security camera systems from the older analog systems to the newer more advanced Avigilon Digital Systems,” said Jones. “When discussing school resource officers, Carroll County Schools currently partners with the Carroll County Sheriff Department and the city of Villa Rica to employ 10 school resource officers.”
Jones said the school system is also looking to provide metal detection wands to every high school and middle school. Jones said the portable metal detector will allow schools to check individuals’ clothing and book bags for any type of metal object.
Also Monday, the board approved the changes in district attendance lines that were discussed in January following a concern that some schools are at the max number of students, while other schools have room to take on more students. Administrators recommended the school board consider minor boundary line changes to help Ithica, Central and Sand Hill elementary schools that are at full capacity.
Last month the district reviewed recommended changes to the board and shared the proposed changes with school communities. Parents had the opportunity to speak and ask questions at public meetings hosted by the schools affected and to give feedback on school websites.
Because the board approved the boundary proposal, a redistricting waiver will be posted on the district website for any parent or guardian who wishes to keep their student in their current school as long as they provide transportation for the student. Those who take about 30 seconds to fill out the form will receive approval after filling out the form.
Ithica Elementary is projected to reach 103 percent capacity with 726 students. With the proposed border lines, 51 students could be redistricted to Sand Hill Elementary.
Sand Hill Elementary is anticipating 705 students in the fall which would leave the school at 91 percent capacity.
Sand Hill could gain 51 students from Ithica Elementary in the fall with the proposed new border lines, but 33 students would be sent to Whitesburg and 76 would be redistricted to Sharp Creek Elementary.
With these possible changes, Roopville Elementary would reach 70 percent capacity, Sharp Creek 67 percent, and Whitesburg at 60 percent capacity.