The Stokes County Board of Education and Stokes County Board of Commissioners agreed to fund a program to enhance security in schools following a closed session Monday evening.
Few specifics were revealed due to the “sensitive nature” of the topic and to “protect the methods and practices that are being implemented.” But the groups released a press release stating that they “will immediately fund a program to enhance security in the schools, which will include additional school resources officers assigned to the Stokes County School System until the end of the current school year.”
School Board Chair Mike Rogers said the mutual agreement will allow officials to start the process of improving school safety. A specific dollar allocation was not given for the program. Rogers said the school system will be relying on the discretion of the Stokes County Sheriff’s Office to “make sure kids are as safe as can be.”
County Board Chair Ernest Lankford said, “Result’s good,” and declined to comment further beyond what was stated in the press release.
The program will be evaluated at the end of the semester to see if any changes need to be made for the following school year.
According to Rogers, the county requested to meet with the school board. Rogers praised the “spirit of cooperation” between the boards.
The closed session was held at 5 p.m. Monday following a meal prepared by students in the newly renovated food lab at South Stokes High School. The session lasted roughly an hour, and media crews gathered outside were provided with press releases following the meeting.
Rogers went before the county commissioners at a meeting Wednesday, Dec. 26 to request funding for additional student resource officers in schools. No action was taken at that time. The school board had voted the previous week to request up to $350,000 from the county for additional SROs to be placed in all schools through the end of May in response to the recent school shooting in Connecticut that killed 20 children and six adults.
Rogers said Monday that the school system had wanted to get the ball rolling, and now it has had more time to examine the facilities and see the specific needs and challenges at each school.
During the regular school board meeting Monday night, the school board listened to a presentation by system maintenance staff on the status of locks at the schools and some options for improvements. Rogers said the system was taking the right steps and that sheriff’s office staff would be evaluating school infrastructure and equipment with maintenance staff.