Chattanooga, Tenn. (WDEF) — Last year, Hamilton County Schools got one third of a million dollars from the state to use for school security.
This year, they will be getting even more.
Last year the Hamilton County School District received over $300 thousand dollars from the state for enhancing school security. This year, they’re getting twice that amount.
Most of the Safe Schools Grant funds from last year were used for surveillance technology and access controls, to better secure the facility.
Tim Hensley, Communications Officer for Hamilton County Schools, said, “Last year’s we have funded such things as security systems for entrances for our schools, we’ve updated a number of those and then added those to all the schools that did not have those.”
Some of the Safe School Grant funds were spent on video surveillance systems like these, that require visitors to be buzzed into the schools.
“It’s working out very nicely for us, it gives us the opportunity to view any visitors approaching or coming into our school, and wanting to have access, and it gives us time to check to see how we could meet their needs before we give them the access to come into our building,” said Dr. Marthel Young, Principal at East Brainerd Elementary School.
But some of the older schools like Tyner High School, don’t have offices that are located near the access points, so other methods are being studied to make physical changes to the entrances to keep those schools safe too.
“We’re looking at how we can take those older schools, maybe do some alterations in the building makeup, so that we can provide some access to an adult as you enter the building,” said Hensley.
State Representative Patsy Hazlewood says that using those grant dollars from the state for SRO’s could be tricky for the school district however, because they are NOT recurring funds, and the local funding body could be stuck with to pay for those personnel the following year, with local dollars.