HORRY COUNTY, S.C. (WBTW) —The Horry County Schools Board of Education voted Monday to hire an outside firm that will evaluate the district’s security procedures and provide recommendations on ways the district can improve.

The outside review will be funded by an amendment to next year’s budget.

Horry County board member Howard Barnard proposed the amendment in response to the 19 children and two teachers shot and killed last month at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas.

“The world we live in now, one more set of eyeballs on what we are doing, I think would make a lot of sense,” Barnard said.

The review adds $150,000 to the $891 million 2022-23 school budget. The board appointed Horry County Schools Superintendent Rick Maxey to hire the firm.

The shooting rampage in Uvalde sent shockwaves across the country, leaving parents concerned about their kids’ safety in school.

“We all certainly are concerned about school safety, especially following the heels of the terrible events in Uvalde, Texas,” Maxey said. “I have received several calls from parents who are concerned, and I share their concerns, but I also want them to know that Horry County schools do have the training and processes and protocols in place.”

Maxey said a lot of new people have moved to the county and are unaware of the armed security officers assigned to Horry County elementary, middle and high schools.

“You may not see the armed individual when you walk in, but they are patrolling the school actively looking after the safety and the interest of our students and employees,” Maxey said.

In addition to school security, the district is working on limiting access points and installing surveillance cameras and security alarms. 

“We have nothing to hide about our procedures,” Maxey said.

Board members agreed that the outside vendor cannot sell Horry County Schools a service or a product.

Maxey said the district needs to do a better job communicating safety procedures with parents.

He said schools in the county will have more conversations with parents about safety measures during open houses and orientations. The district will also use that as an opportunity to introduce school security officers to parents and students.