Roane Co. school leaders discuss school security

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KINGSTON, Tenn. (WVLT)-- Roane County school officials spent Thurday night looking at ways to keep students safe.

Some of those ideas include a new digital camera system for all but three schools.

They also want to add 12 sro's to the six already in the district.

The two together would cost $1.6 million in the first year.

County commissioners have mentioned a 26-cent property tax increase to pay for the changes.

But no number has been finalized.

Christy Somers has three boys in school. The Newtown massacre had her wondering how safe they were in the classroom. Christy Somers says, "I was stressing! I know in the past it was easy to get in school. They don't really ask you who you are."

But in the past four months, Roane County has made changes.
Changes like locking the entrances at five schools now making all visitors buzz the office before coming inside.

They have to push a button, which rings the front office and they unlock the doors.

School officials were worried the process would aggravate parents, but they tell me the reaction has been positive.

In addition to securing entrances, the new Roane County School safety plan calls for adding more resource officers, installing more cameras inside the school and practicing lock down drills.

Something they've already practiced with the children. Director of Schools Gary Aytes says, "You ask a kindergartner what to do in a lock down and they know exactly what to do."

It's a sad reality in today's world, but for parents like Christy, the new safety measures are welcome additions.

Somers says, "Now that they have that in place, I feel really good about it. It makes me feel a lot safer "

Commissioners will learn more about the plan at its next meeting in two weeks.

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