School board members voted unanimously Thursday to spend up to $150,000 to beef up security at each of Bryan County’s schools as soon as possible.
The vote took place at the Board of Education’s meeting at Bryan County Elementary School and there seemed to be a sense of urgency as BoE members discussed making schools safer by controlling access.
“I think personally if we waited and waited and waited … If something happened in that time, I don’t think we could ever forgive ourselves,” said Paine Bacon, who represents Pembr oke.
Vice Chairman Joe Pecenka credited member Amy Murphy for leading the charge on the measure, and Murphy said she believed parents will support the expenditure.
Chairman Eddie Warren also supported the idea, which was first discussed publicly at a BoE work session last week after the board got estimates for some $72,000 to add access control to several schools.
Initially, school officials looked at providing improved security to the county’s primary, elementary and pre-k schools. That was expanded to include all schools after Murphy and BoE member Dennis Seger said it was important to include each campus.
“I believe this is important to the parents,” Murphy said. “I believe they will support this.”
Seger said upgrading security was also about providing a safer environment for school faculty and staff as well.
It’s unclear exactly how long the process will take or when it will begin. Seger asked assistant superintendent Dr. Trey Robertson when he could get started on the project.
“Can you make some phone calls in the morning and get this started,” Seger asked, and Robertson said yes.
Earlier, the BoE was told it takes six weeks to get the type of doors used in access control systems, which also includes stronger glass windows and limits entry into a school to the front door through a buzzer system which is controlled by a receptionist.