School safety panel talks, Governor McMaster urges action for officers in schools

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - School safety talks in South Carolina center on how to prevent more school shootings from happening.

Governor Henry McMaster insists schools need officers, at least one to every school in the state. On Thursday afternoon in Columbia, McMaster held panels of teachers, law enforcement, and mental health experts for a school safety summit.

Panelists were all ears when one high school senior from Dillon County, Jacorie McCall, stood from his seat in the audience and spoke.

"One big thing that I would like to see done is buzzing when you come into the front building, locking several doors that we have around the school in some of these rural areas and doing one entrance point," he later told WIS.

There are locks and buzzers and fences and other various tools used on some school campuses; McCall wants them statewide.

Edisto High School boasts a system called 'Identakid.' Their exterior front door is unlocked, but guests are locked out of an interior door until they clear a quick background check.

Driver's licenses are used to check-in. If the visitor passes, a staff member buzzes them in. There are also fences around what was formerly open courtyard on campus.

"We want them to worry about getting a quality education. We don't want them to have to worry about safety," Ernest Holiday, spokesperson for Orangeburg School District 4, said.

However, McMaster says security isn't necessarily in tools like these.

"We must be sure we, first of all, a trained police officer, a trained certified armed officer in every school," McMaster said on Thursday.

McCall says school resource officers are good if the state will help rural counties pay for that.

"Kids like me it shouldn't be, we shouldn't be negotiating with lives when it comes to rural areas. I think the kids in Dillon matter just as much as the kids in Lexington," McCall said.

During the summit, mental health was also addressed. State Superintendent Molly Spearman said starting immediately, the Department of Education will train teachers and students on how to spot behavior that can indicate violent tendencies.

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