Funding requested to improve security at two Mount Airy schools

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MOUNT AIRY, N.C. -- Mount Airy schools parents, employees and city commissioners are working to improve safety at their schools after concerns were raised regarding student and parent safety both in and outside the high school.

Mount Airy Schools Superintendent Dr. Greg Little told FOX8 that safety has always been the number one priority for the school system. Dr. Little says there has been an ongoing conversation regarding safety, but a city commissioner came forward wanting to enhance and strengthen the “already strong” security.

Dr. Little said the recent conversation began with security at sporting events -- like football games -- but has continued to on-campus safety.

The aforementioned commissioner was identified as John Cawley, who is also an employee at the high school. Cawley told FOX8 that, to his knowledge, none of the cameras on the high school campus are in working order.

Dr. Little refuted that claim, saying that there is a notification system in place to let employees know when cameras are out of order. Dr. Little said there have been cameras in place for “several years” and the request made by Cawley was aimed at putting more cameras into place and alleviating things like blind spots.

Cawley requested that the city commissioners grant the high school $7,500 for the cameras, as well as additional security measures. These additional measures include anything from better lighting to the possibility of a buzzer system at the front doors. This request was approved by the remaining commissioners.

As of now, all doors in the schools remain locked at all times, with the exception of the front doors. At the high school, anyone can walk through the front doors with nobody to stop them. However, Dr. Little told FOX8 that once someone enters the front doors, they are brought to a foyer where they must then be buzzed in at the front desk.

Parents at Jones Intermediate have raised similar concerns, prompting the PTO to begin a fundraising effort. Cawley tells FOX8 that the school raised about $2,000 but have requested the commissioners cover the cost of a possible buzzer system at their school, as well as additional cameras on campus. The additional funding would be in the ballpark of $6,000, Cawley said.

Commissioners are set to vote on the Jones Intermediate request on Thursday.

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