School board asked to fund more upgrades to security – Coastal Observer


School board asked to fund more upgrades to security

Daily scans at middle and high schools started last year.

The Georgetown County School District is considering a proposal to add “safety monitors” at middle and high schools in the next school year.

Alan Walters, the district’s chief operations officer, made a pitch for the new positions to the school board this week.

“We think it is a critically important position,” Walters said.

The safety monitors would help supervise the weapons detectors at the beginning of the day, and also screen visitors and students who arrive late. Other responsibilities would be monitoring security cameras; patrolling halls, restrooms, cafeterias and parking lots; and checking to make sure external doors are locked.

The district used to randomly deploy metal detectors for screenings at the beginning of the school day. After a handgun was found inside Carvers Bay Middle STEAM Academy in September, weapons detectors are now used at all middle and high schools every day.

The district also installed sensors in restrooms to detect smoke from vapes, which are banned on district properties. The sensor sends an alert through the camera system, but someone needs to be monitoring that system to respond.

“Who’s going to be able to respond?” Walters said. “Our administrators are busy as it is trying to do their administrator job.”

Walters stressed that the new hires would not be an administrator or a security guard, nor would they have the responsibilities of a school resource officer.

“They’re not going to be doing discipline stuff,” Walters said. “If there’s a discipline issue they encounter, that goes to an administrator.”

Superintendent Keith Price said although the safety monitors would patrol cafeterias, they would not be responsible for supervision.

“The main purpose of these positions would be to provide upfront security and safety for anyone trying to gain access into the building, either by arriving late as a student or visiting as a guest,” he added. “That’s where they will be parked primarily throughout the entire day to make sure everyone goes through our [weapons detectors] appropriately.”

Some schools, like Georgetown Middle, already use crossing guards for some monitoring and patrolling. 

The salary range for the new positions is expected to be $19,483 to $33,840.



Georgetown County Board of Education: First and third Tuesdays, 5:30 p.m., Beck Education Center. For details, go to Georgetown County Council: Second and fourth Tuesdays, 5:30 p.m., Council Chambers, 129 Screven St., Georgetown. For details, go to Pawleys Island Town Council: Second Mondays, 5 p.m. Town Hall, 323 Myrtle Ave. For details, go to   , .