District One officials and parents looking at school security


During their first meeting of the new year, Anderson School District One Board of Trustees heard from a parent who expressed concerned about school security. Jennifer Opper, who has a child in a District One Elementary School, said that for many tragic reasons and concerns about shootings, ask the board for direction in providing more security in the school system.

Opper said she has talked with several elected officials including Rep. Brian White and members of County Council. She said that she is realistic that security costs money and asked the board to help her with direction.

She said she has received several recommendations including looking at lottery money, having the district consider reallocating monies and even having parents provide money for a security person or possibly just purchasing a police car to park in front of a school.

“There is a lot of support,” she said, “a lot of want from the parents.”

Opper said she that at a recent PTO meeting the parents did indicate that they feel safe and have a great school, but also felt that having someone provide security at the school would be a deterrent.

Board Chairman Fred Alexander said, “We’re all concerned.” He said that board members and school administration have been looking at what can be done to increase security. “We don’t have the money as a school district,” he said.

Assistant Superintendent David Havird said the State Superintendent of Education was just talking about the issue. Havird and Superintendent Dr. Wayne Fowler explained the District currently has four resource officers who split time between the two high schools and the middle schools in the District.

Dr. Fowler said the District would need 10 additional resource officers to cover the district’s 14 schools.

Board member David Merritt said, “We’re evaluating. This is the first meeting we’ve had since this happened. We’re evaluating to see what we can do as a district.”

Havird said some additional security measures were taken over the holidays including access doors, wiring for new camera’s, door locks, key pads and panic button’s installed directly to 911.

A memo was also sent to principals, school personnel and parents explaining and reassuring that the District is looking at school safety and security to protect and support students.

In official action, the board unanimously approved a new school calendar for 2013-14, heard an update on the nutrition program and gave consensus to allow Director of Education Robbie Binnicker to request a waiver for students who pass a keyboard test.

The Board went into executive session to discuss a contract and personnel issues. No official action was expected as of post time Thursday.