CONWAY, SC (WBTW) – Horry County’s school board met Monday and, among other things, talked about school security and overcrowding.
Police at schools
School board chairman Joe DeFeo suggested allowing police agencies to treat schools as substations. Officers would be allowed to use a school to eat, write reports, or do other work, while giving an additional police presence at schools.
“That might invite a lot more law enforcement presence into our schools and we don’t see that as a bad thing,” said DeFeo. “It’s good for our officers, it’s good for the students. We really think it’s a great anti-bullying idea and campaign to have these officers talking and meeting and our kids seeing them.”
The school board didn’t vote on the idea. DeFeo said he’s still reaching out to police chiefs.
“Why does a county need to spend their money to build a lot of buildings for future growth?” said DeFeo. “That was the original idea. There’s no reason why we couldn’t feed all officers whether it be state or local police.”
The district recently added armed security officers to elementary schools, in addition to those at middle and high schools.
Bulletproof film at glass-filled schools
After months of criticism, DeFeo said the district’s five new glass-filled schools will get bulletproof film. Classroom walls facing the hallway are made of glass as well as much of the exteriors of the building.
The builder of the schools, Robbie Ferris of Firstfloor Energy Positive, admitted to News13 last summer that children wouldn’t be able to hide if there was an intruder, but he said a SWAT commander was encouraged by the building’s openness.
“He said what he looks for is a building he can walk in, instantly see everything that’s going on, and go put the threat to an end,” Ferris told News13.
DeFeo wouldn’t say where the bulletproof film would go.
“It was never, ever decided not to put the bullet resistant glass in,” he added. “It’s done after the fact, it’s a film that goes over the glass so it’s completely done after the fact. What I can’t tell you is where, how, why or when, what we may have done or not done and where we’re going to put it. That i can’t discuss.”
A temporary solution to overcrowding
The district’s facilities department wants 20 more modular classrooms to address overcrowding. The buildings, which are detached from the school building, would cost $3.2 million. Over the last few years, Horry County Schools has added enough new students to fill an entire school every year.
Director of Facilities, Mark Wolfe, said the schools he suggested and number of modulars needed for each school are as follows:
- River Oaks Elementary = 8 for 5th grade
- Pee Dee Elementary = 4 for 5th grade
- Myrtle Beach High School = 4 for math, English and/or social studies
- Socastee High School = 4 for math, English and/or social studies