Pee Dee

Florence School District 1 approves one-million dollar security upgrade

FLORENCE, SC (WBTW) – The Florence School District One board met Thursday and implemented a roughly one-million dollar safety improvement to schools in the district.

Assistant Superintendent for Administrative Services, Lionel Brown, gave a presentation to the board with a security company.

In a rare instance, the Florence School District One school board decided to suspend a second reading to allow updated security cameras in all of the schools.

“The motion was only possible because this is considered an emergency safety situation,” said School Board Chair Barry Townsend.

All Florence District One schools will soon have upgraded digital security cameras.

Townsend said South Florence, West Florence, and Wilson High Schools will also have a buzz-in front door entry system.

None of the high schools in the district currently use a buzz-in entry system.

“It’s imperative that we provide a safe environment for all of our students,” Townsend said. “That’s not something we only focus on when there’s a tragedy, it’s something that’s a focus here every day.”

The security company said it could take up to three weeks to install all of the cameras on one school’s campus.

Some of the schools in the district already have analog security cameras which will be updated by the new security company.

Every seat in the room was filled with community members and parents Thursday night.

Many parents used the public participation portion of the meeting to voice their concerns.

All the detection is needed, but we’re not hearing how they’re monitored,” said one mother in the audience. “Cameras are no good at a million dollars without people looking at them.”

The security features will cost the school district more than one million dollars.

“It is a substantial amount of money, and we’ll have to go back and take a look at how this does impact the budget, but you can’t put a price on our students’ safety,” he said.

The new cameras will also be put outside of the building for mobile classrooms.

Townsend said safety is always the district’s top priority.

“This is not the end of anything when it comes to safety measures,” Townsend said. “This is just the first step that we could take immediately.”

Brown said the district is also looking to fence West Florence High School as a safety precaution.

The cost for a six-foot fence would be $17,500, while the cost for an eight-foot fence would be $22,800.

Townsend said staff and administration will visit Conway High School on Friday to view how that school’s metal detecting system has worked over the years.

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