ROCK HILL, S.C. - Rock Hill school officials said after meetings with parents over several months, one issue rose to the top. They wanted more security at schools, even on elementary campuses.
Mychal Frost is with the Rock Hill School District.
"There was a need to provide some sort of security presence, some sort of security officer on site at our elementary schools," Frost said.
Frost said the school board voted to spend roughly $750,000 this year to hire 18 armed private security officers.
In just days, they'll be part of life at all 17 elementary schools and the Central Child Development Center downtown.
"To provide that first layer of support, first layer of reaction and response in the event that something would happen," Frost said.
They'll have other daily responsibilities too.
Below is part of the statement the Rock Hill school District sent to Channel 9:
Some of the responsibilities for each SSO include:
- Serve as a first responder to emergency incidents on school property. Coordinate with and assist law enforcement or other first responders upon their arrival.
- Confront trespassers and unauthorized visitors to determine why they’re on campus and to prevent unlawful entry to campus.
- In coordination with school officials, assist with traffic control, traffic and pedestrian management, and parking before, during, and after school hours.
Additionally, each school will provide opportunities for the SSO to work alongside the guidance counselor to spend time in classrooms to acclimate students to the SSO, discuss the role of the SSO, and how the SSO is a part of the school community.
All officers have at least five years of experience in providing armed security service. They have backgrounds that include military service, law enforcement and private security.
Parents like Doris Rodriguez hadn't heard about the security additions for even the youngest of students.
"I won't worry as much, that's for sure," Rodriguez said.
She has a 4-year-old in Pre-K and another in middle school, and said this step is something that had to happen.
"The bullying going on, and kids nowadays, they're just crazy. I feel like security is necessary in all the schools," Rodriguez said.
The school district said the new security officers will begin appearing at schools this week and will all be in place by the end of the month.
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