October 23, 2018
By: Dwayne Page
The DeKalb County School District has been awarded $83,570 in grant funding from the state dedicated to school security.
Gov. Bill Haslam has announced all 147 school districts in Tennessee including DeKalb County have completed a first-ever statewide assessment of school facilities and safety procedures.
Haslam and Commissioner of Education Candice McQueen said that those schools will now receive allocations from a $35 million fund for school security.
The money will be used to fund security and safety needs identified by the schools in the assessment, including enhanced door locks, shatter-resistant glass and funding salaries for school counselors and child psychologists.
In DeKalb County the money will be used to purchase more surveillance cameras at all schools to monitor activity inside and outside the buildings; school staff will be provided with more walkie talkies for better communication; safety sphere bollards will be placed near entrances to the elementary schools as barriers to prevent anyone from using an automobile to crash into the front of the buildings; and at the high school a card swipe reader entry system will soon be installed.
Participating in the schools assessments locally were Director Patrick Cripps, Federal Programs Supervisor Dr. Danielle Collins, Attendance Supervisor Joey Reeder, Smithville Police Chief Mark Collins, Sheriff Patrick Ray, Smithville Fire Chief and Emergency Management Agency Director Charlie Parker, and Alexandria Police Chief Chris Russell.
All schools in the state were eligible to apply for two grants from the school security funding.
Separately, the Department of Safety and Homeland Security is currently working to develop a statewide school safety mobile app to allow students, faculty and others to anonymously report suspicious behavior.