North Carolina High School Reevaluates Security after Intruder Incident

Guilford County Schools officials are reevaluating safety and security at campuses in Greensboro, N.C., after an incident last week in which an armed man walked into the Smith High School cafeteria and demanded that employees bring him two people on his hit list.

Guilford County Schools officials are reevaluating safety and security at campuses in Greensboro, N.C., after an incident last week in which an armed man walked into the Smith High School cafeteria and demanded that employees bring him two people on his hit list.

Parents and school officials are particularly concerned about the open layout of the school’s campus.

“It certainly is concerning to have an open campus like that. Again, Smith is not unique. We have many open campuses like it across our district,” Guilford County Schools Chief Operations Officer Scott McCully told WXII12. “They were built and designed in a different era that had different considerations then what we are considering today in terms of improving school safety or student safety.”

The suspect was able to walk through the courtyard and into the cafeteria because of the open campus. Two employees kept the suspect calm while they called for help, which kept the situation from escalating into something worse.

“The training piece of this is so important, what we experienced earlier this week, and the successful resolution really came about as the result of quick-thinking, level-headed staff that did the right thing at the right time for students in order to keep them safe,” McCully said.

 Currently, Smith High School’s only security measure is video surveillance, and McCully wants to expand and improve safety and security on campuses district-wide.

“We’re looking at cameras, what’s currently there, is it sufficient, is it working? And then what would be the cost and the process around upgrades,” McCully said. “Enhancing access control for all of our doors, making sure there is a central point of entry or limiting the points of entry to a school.”

According to McCully, Guilford County Schools is working on acquiring $10 million in bond funds from county commissioners, which would be used to increase security and safety. Meanwhile, Smith High School staff will continue to train, practice emergency drills and patrol open walkways on campus.

“We’re going to have to do the best we can in terms of, first of all, limiting access where we can, and having cameras on those entryways. But also having adults in hallways that can help supervise and in those entry ways,” McCully said.

Currently only half of the district’s 126 schools have implemented security measures.  

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Jessica Davis is the Associate Content Editor for 1105 Media.

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