GUILFORD COUNTY, N.C. (WGHP) — Student safety is something a lot of parents are thinking about as they prepare to send their kids back to the classroom.
A Guilford County mom wants to make sure there’s enough security at her child’s school, and she started a petition to get other parents on board.
The petition Alexis Thompson started after the Uvalde, Texas, shooting has almost 1,500 signatures in support of putting school resource officers in Guilford County elementary schools.
Right now, they’re only in middle and high schools. But Thompson is hoping her petition can change that.
“I’m terrified,” Thompson said. “The last few days of school, I hesitated to send my kids. There were days I didn’t send my kids. I was sick to my stomach.”
That feeling hasn’t gone away for Thompson. She’s preparing to send her two children to second and third grade at Southern Elementary with the tragedy in Uvalde still in the back of her mind.
“They go to school every day,” she said. “I’m not there with them. I can’t protect them.”
She wants a school resource officer to do that job at elementary schools across the county.
“I understand that an SRO may or may not be able to stop a situation, but it’s a beginning security point,” Thompson said.
Guilford County Schools is working to increase security with the latest school bond voters passed. In June, the district’s safety and security director told FOX8 that includes putting vestibules in elementary schools to create a two-layer entry.
The district also plans to put touchless security scanners inside the county’s 19 high schools. If that goes well, they’ll add them to middle schools, but not elementary.
“In elementary school, it’s almost always from outside of the school, so it’s more important to make sure no one comes into the school,” said Mike Richey, the county’s executive director of emergency management, school safety and security. “Then at your middle and high, it tends to be someone within the school who would perpetrate the crime. So we’ve got to focus on the people going into the school, so it’s a little bit different.”
Thompson thinks it’s a step in the right direction, but she won’t settle for just vestibules.
“I think it’s a good idea,” she said. “Anything toward more safe schools is a good idea to me. But it really depends on the layout of those schools.”
FOX8 reached out to Guilford County Schools to get a comment on this petition and an update on the progress made this summer in increasing security measures.
Our crews were told no one was available to speak until Monday.