Elementary schools not all covered by full-time SROs in Charleston Co.

Published: May. 27, 2022 at 3:41 PM EDT|Updated: May. 27, 2022 at 5:39 PM EDT
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CHARLESTON COUNTY, S.C. (WCSC) - In the wake of the school shooting in Uvalde, Texas that left 19 elementary school students and two teachers dead, local parents have started to ask about the security measures of schools in Charleston.

One of the most important security measures for parents is having someone on campus that can stop a threat once it has started.

That looks like an armed law enforcement officer with the training and skills needed to address a situation, but despite the deadly school shootings that happen every year around the country, the Charleston County School District is not required to have a school resource officer at every elementary school.

There are 47 elementary schools listed on the district’s website and it’s on the various law enforcement agencies to provide staffing. The district would not confirm how many schools do not have an SRO right now, but they say they have requested an officer in every school.

Live 5 News reached out to all of the law enforcement agencies in Charleston County, and it appears 42 of the 47 are covered by officers. Only 18 schools are confirmed to be staffed by law enforcement full-time, however that number is likely much higher. The North Charleston Police Department and the Charleston County Sheriff’s Office would not confirm if its officers are assigned to a single school or multiple locations.

They would also not confirm if any of their positions are vacant.

The Charleston Police Department covers nine schools with full time officers and Mount Pleasant police have an officer stationed at each of its nine elementary schools. The sheriff’s office has 10 positions, some of which are vacant.

That leaves North Charleston. After the Sandy Hook shooting, Mayor Keith Summey announced a plan to put an officer in every elementary school. On Friday, NCPD says all of the schools are “covered” in their security plan but they would not say if each school has its own officer or if officers are dividing their time among a number of schools.

Lindsey Goodwin is a parent at a school where there is no SRO currently. She says this is the first line of defense that needs to be there.

“Two of the school shootings with the greatest number of casualties have been in elementary schools and that’s likely because they are the most vulnerable populations,” Goodwin said. “So by not having the first line of defense – SRO, school resource officers – we are leaving an already vulnerable population more vulnerable.”

In all the district has about 65 law enforcement officers from the various jurisdictions assigned to schools. All middle and high schools are required to have officers, but elementary schools are not.

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