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State representative meets with Charleston Co. school officials to discuss safety

Published: Jun. 7, 2022 at 4:36 PM EDT|Updated: Jun. 7, 2022 at 5:18 PM EDT
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CHARLESTON COUNTY, S.C. (WCSC) - A local state representative is asking the Charleston County School District to redouble its efforts to prevent school shootings. In a meeting with Representative Wendell Gilliard, district officials acknowledged areas that need improvement.

Gilliard sat down with CCSD’s top security officials Monday for about an hour and half. They identified at least one school that has some security measures that could use some shoring up.

After the school shooting in Uvalde, Texas that killed 19 elementary school students and two teachers, Gilliard wrote a letter to CCSD Superintendent Don Kennedy requesting a meeting to discuss concerns he has noticed while touring several schools.

After he wrote that letter an elementary school official reached out to him with the security concerns at her school specifically. In the meeting, Gilliard says district staff acknowledged certain security challenges unique to this school and said it was the only one in the district that needed to be addressed. For security reasons, we’re not naming the school, but Gilliard did describe the concerns identified by himself and school staff.

“At this particular school, the major concern was easy entrance,” Gilliard said. “I had to see it for myself and when I went out there, I was taken back in the fact that these circumstances exist.

Gilliard says it’s way too easy for someone to walk into the school from street. He says the district assured him that they would make the security measures at that facility a priority but they did not give him a timeline as to when those new security measures would be in place.

“We had a very productive meeting and that just goes to show you that these situations, these scenarios – they exist,” Gilliard said. “I think people need to understand that and we cannot take that for granted. It’s our job and our responsibility to shore up safety for our teachers, custodians and students.”

In a statement the district says safety is always a top priority.

“As a district, the safety and well-being of our students and staff are major priorities, and we appreciate Rep. Gilliard’s input as we consider the most effective ways to better protect everyone in our school buildings,” the district said.

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