Grant to provide safety upgrades for every school in Guilford County

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GUILFORD COUNTY, N.C. -- A $275,000 grant will provide safety upgrades for every school in Guilford County.

The district’s emergency management executive director told FOX8 that funds would cover the cost of ID scanners for visitors in every school’s main office.

“Knowledge is power and knowing who is in our school gives us that knowledge and that power,” Andrew Jaspers said.

Jaspers said that every school already has a way to monitor visitors, but the upgrades would allow instant information on the visitor’s background and verify their identity.

“If you do a check-in, you can put whatever name, and by scanning a driver's license will be able to know if that person is who that person says they are and what kind of background instantly that they have,” he said. “If they’re supposed to be on campus or if they’re not supposed to be on the school campus.”

Currently, less than half of Guilford County schools have ID scanners.

The grant from the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction will also allow systems to communicate with the central office and other schools.

“This is just another piece of the pie, and giving us that accountability for on campus if there is a large scale emergency of any kind, we’ll know who our volunteers are, visitors, contractors, who else is on our campus in addition to students and staff,” Jaspers said.

Parent Schisne Woods said she’s on board with any system that better monitors who is in county schools.

“I think it should be that way, because what one person might do in one school they’ll do it in another school, so it’s very important that we protect our kids,” she said.

Jaspers expects all new systems to be up and running by the start of the 2020-2021 school year.

According to a news release, a second grant will allow the district to partner with community organizations to provide training for students, parents and school employees to better understand and support children experiencing anxiety, depression, trauma and other issues.

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