RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) –School safety was front and center at Tuesday’s Wake County School Board Meeting. The district experienced several lockdowns recently.

During the work session, the board received an update on a district wide security assessment conducted by an outside school safety group. You can read the executive summary of the assessment here, which was completed in 2021.

“After Columbine there were zero tolerance policies, we talked about that, and now we look more towards preventative policies.”

The Senior Director of Security Russ Smith said by next school year the district hopes to update its emergency plan and have a new district wide visitor management system that allows for background checks against the sex offender registry.

Smith was asked by a board member to address where the district stands regarding metal detectors.

“Specifically talking about metal detectors I’m not prepared to be able to say yeah we’re gonna do this today or we’re looking at that today, but I think everything is on the table,” Smith said.

One change the district already implemented is forming a School Resource Officer leadership committee, which has been meeting since May. Smith said the district also formed a committee focused on physical security to start implementing recommendations.

The district also wants to make it easier for students to report tips. Right now there’s a phone number they can call anonymously.

“We certainly know that many of us, even adults, don’t always pick up the phone and call, it’s a text message or using an app,” Mahaffey said.

During its regular meeting, the board received a presentation from volunteers with the Be SMART program. The program focuses on gun safety with the leaders SMART standing for:

  • Secure- All guns in your home and vehicle
  • Model- Responsible behavior
  • Ask- Unsecured guns in other homes
  • Recognize- The role of guns in suicide
  • Tell- Your peers to Be SMART

Carey Rudell is a volunteer with Moms Demand Action and a parent of three children in Wake County schools. She hopes parents will lock up their guns so they don’t end up on school grounds.

“It’s really up to us, it’s really up to people like me, it’s really up to other parents at my school to make sure that we are storing our firearms, that we’re modeling responsible behavior, that we’re asking other parents when our kids go on a playdate, you know, do you have any unsecure firearms,” Rudell said.

Volunteers are encouraging PTAs, or other groups, who want Be SMART presentations at their meetings to reach out to them at besmartwakecounty@gmail.com 

The school board also approved $1.2 million in security upgrades for Broughton High School in Raleigh as part of its consent items. According to board documents this includes installing a security fence and doorbell cameras.