Guilford County Schools superintendent address school safety after Southern Guilford High attack

Piedmont Triad News

GUILFORD COUNTY, N.C. (WGHP) — Guilford County Schools Superintendent Dr. Sharon Contreras said all safety procedures and policies were followed in response to an attack inside Southern Guilford High School.

“Did staff follow all of their safety procedures and protocols, absolutely,” Contreras said.

On May 25, a 37-year-old GCS parent, 18-year-old and three students not affiliated with the SGHS campus walked through the front door of the school as two students walked out. Contreras said in this case it was different since the attackers were let into the school.

“They did not come in behaving as though they were going to walk into a classroom to attack someone,” she said. “It was the first day of finals where the remote students were returning for the very first time with masks on, they’d never seen these students, so they think a parent is coming in to take their final exams.”

Guilford County sheriff’s deputies said the group met inside with three SGHS students. Contreras said they were escorted by a student to the classroom. The group attacked a 14-year-old student for nearly one minute.

Safety measures are in place at every school in the district including locked doors from the outside, security cameras and OneCards for every student and staff member.

“Swiping in is not in place yet, the wearing of the ID is in place,” she said. “It’s a multimillion-dollar initiative that was not completely funded. We are going to be able to have the machines that allow every student to swipe into a building once the fall begins.”

Contreras told FOX8 the school district cannot make safety and security upgrades without money from the Guilford County Board of Commissioners.

“If our facilities request, our capital request is denied we have no way to fund those initiatives,” Contreras said. “So every year that I’ve been here and the years prior to that every single capital l request has been denied. So, we’ve received some, but we’ve received very little.”

Even with the necessary improvements, Contreras said it’s all comes back to communication to prevent incidents like at SGHS.

“Had one of the students involved or that mother only called the school or called the district office or called the police the night before we could’ve intervened,” she said.

The school district is investigating the May 25 incident. Contreras told FOX8 the students involved are being disciplined through the district’s code of conduct.

Contreras said in the most recent facilities master plan study it’s estimated $66 million is needed to upgrade security systems at newer schools. She said it would take $2.6 billion for older schools that need to be rebuilt or renovated.

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