Commissioner: Guilford County Schools Haven’t Fixed Faulty Security Cameras
The Guilford County Board of Commissioners met with school leaders back in June to discuss the issue.
GUILFORD COUNTY, N.C. — A member of the Guilford County Board of Commissioners said the school district still hasn’t fixed security cameras that it has known aren’t working properly.
Commissioner Alan Perdue said after several altercations this week at Guilford County Schools (GCS), he was alarmed to discover that following a June meeting with school officials, the faulty cameras still have not been addressed, reports The Rhino Times.
Perdue, who previously served as the county’s Emergency Services director, said there have been several incidents, including fights, in which the security system could have been used to determine who was at fault.
“The lack of cameras has hampered some investigations and safety issues for locating students or identifying those that are involved in an incident,” he said.
In a May 25 incident at Southern Guilford High School, a 37-year-old GCS parent, an 18-year-old and three students not affiliated with the high school were able to get through the front door of the school as two students walked out, reports Fox 8.
Guilford County sheriff’s deputies said the four individuals met three students inside and the group attacked a 14-year-old girl in her classroom for nearly a minute.
“They did not come in behaving as though they were going to walk into a classroom to attack someone,” said Superintendent Dr. Sharon Contreras. “It was the first day of finals where the remote students were returning for the very first time with masks on, they’d never seen these students, so they think a parent is coming in to take their final exams.”
Contreras said staff followed all safety and security procedures, and that student and staff ID cards have been issued but the swiping feature for entry isn’t in place yet.
“If our facilities request, our capital request is denied we have no way to fund those initiatives,” she said. “So every year that I’ve been here and the years prior to that every single capital l request has been denied. So, we’ve received some, but we’ve received very little.”
Back in June 2018, the Board of Commissioners approved a $10 million two-thirds bond for security improvements — some of which would be used for adding and upgrading security cameras, according to WFMY News 2. At the time, 60 GCS elementary schools were without cameras.
In Sept. 2019, the Guilford County Board of Education voted to formally request the transfer of the money from the commissioners.
“We gave them the money to fix the cameras,” Perdue said.
School officials said the coronavirus pandemic has shifted much of the district’s focus to keeping students from missing out on over a year of education, among other things.
“The cameras are an ongoing issue in the schools, and we simply have not had enough money to address the camera issues when we don’t have enough money to address basic heating issues and cooling issues and roof issues,” Contreras told the board.