JASPER COUNTY, S.C. (WTOC) - When Jasper County goes back to school next week, parents won’t be able to just drop by if they want to see their kids. That’s because new security measures in the county were put in place to protect them.
The county is beefing up security. Not only are they adding security guards to the front entrances; they’re also making sure every inch of every school is monitored.
“We also added cameras to all of our classrooms this year, so we have improved safety there, and we’re very excited about that. We’ll be able, again, to monitor those. From a centralized location, and also our SROs on campus as well as our local law-enforcement, will have access to those cameras as well," said Superintendent Dr. Rechel Anderson.
Dr. Anderson says the new systems will protect students from intruders, which is also why they have chosen to lock every entrance door to the school.
“We want all of our faculty and staff and our students to feel safe. We want to ensure to our public and to our community that we are providing every measure possible, so those are some of the things we have definitely done this year to ensure that we are providing safety and enhancing what we certainly have in place now."
Karesha Taylor-Parnell, who is Teacher of the Year for Ridgeland Elementary, says it will make learning easier.
“It will do something to my students. When my students know that they are safe, when I know that I am safe, I think teaching and learning will be more inspiring, and teaching and learning will be better," she said.
WTOC asked the superintendent how much money the county spent on security this year.
“I know approximately $500,000 was definitely invested to make sure we were able to at least address the camera system on our buses, as well as in our classrooms.”
Taylor-Parnell thinks not only is it worth it, it’s necessary.
“I am seeing that they are listening to us, and that they are seeing what is happening around us, and they are trying to make us as safe as possible, and I feel good.”
The county also added cameras to school buses so kids will be under surveillance from the moment they get picked up to the moment they’re dropped off.