WINSTON-SALEM, N.C.– As Winston-Salem City Council considers matching grant funding for additional security cameras at one middle school and three high schools, Forsyth County Law Enforcement officials say after Friday’s shootings in Connecticut, it’s likely elementary school security will be heavily discussed in the near future.
While all Forsyth County middle and high schools have security cameras and school resource officers, elementary schools share 9 officers who focus on teaching drug awareness, bullying and self-esteem programs.
There are more than 45 elementary schools.
Winston-Salem Assistant Police Chief David Clayton oversees the 27 school resource officers from the Winston-Salem Police Department and he believes elementary school safety will also become a larger topic of discussion in the future.
Clayton says just in the past few years officers have changed the way they handle school situations and school resource officers now train teachers as well.
That makes them even more important.
“Every law enforcement has changed how they respond to active shooters and the Winston-Salem Police Department is no different,” says Clayton.
Clayton also says his officers go through a week of specialized training every year and share that important information with school officials.
One of the most recent topics of discussion, active shooters inside a school.
“Responding to an active shooter situation is one of the most dangerous things we do and we’ve got to be ready to respond to those regardless of what the venue is,” says Clayton.
North Forsyth High School Principal Rodney Bass says while he is excited about getting additional cameras at his school, having a school resource officer gives him peace of mind. He thinks it’s something that should definitely be explored in elementary schools.
“I do think now, there will be conversations about increasing their presence on the elementary school campuses,” says Bass.