White Knoll High School teacher expresses safety concerns after loaded gun, knife found on campus

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Published: Dec. 2, 2021 at 11:57 PM EST
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LEXINGTON S.C. (WIS) - Following Monday’s incident at White Knoll High School where two students brought a loaded gun and knife to the school, one teacher is speaking out about what she feels are lingering safety concerns.

RELATED STORY | New details released after loaded gun, knife found at White Knoll High School

The teacher, who wishes to remain anonymous, wants policy changes. She said she’d rather walk through metal detectors periodically than relive the trauma she experienced on Monday.

“We’re not supposed to be that school district that has these issues, but unfortunately with the times, and what’s happening in our communities, we are,” the White Knoll teacher said.

Her concerns come in light of Tuesday’s tragic school shooting in Michigan, where authorities say a 15-year-old student shot and killed four of his classmates and injured seven others.

This teacher is expressing worry that if Lexington One leaders don’t respond with more urgency about weapons on campus, a similar situation could happen in South Carolina.

“Because a lot of what I hear in the hallways is, ‘Eh, we’ll get away with it,’” the teacher said. “And it only takes one kid to copycat and then we have a massacre on our hands, and nobody wants that.”

Board member Jada Garris agrees and said the district is too often reactive, and not proactive when it comes to issues like this.

“Something could have been done before then to ensure that the gun did not make it into school,” she said. “And one teacher said my body is still tense from being hunkered down for two hours in a corner in the dark not knowing what was going on.”

Lexington School District One spokesperson Kathryn McPhail sent a statement to WIS, which reads in part, “We disagree that the district has been slow to update safety protocols. We continuously review and update security measures at all of our schools. Our top priority is the safety and wellbeing of our students and staff.”

White Knoll principal Ted Daughtrey, in an email to staff today, said he spoke with District Central Services staff and Superintendent Greg Little to request a number of security measures, including two additional hall monitors, updated cameras and to pilot the implementation of a random inspection process to deter weapons and illegal substances from being brought on campus.

Monday’s weapons marked the 16th and 17th found on a Lexington One campus this year.

The Lexington County Sheriff’s Department’s jurisdiction covers parts of Lexington One, Lexington-Richland Five, and all of Lexington Four. LCSD reports that it has found 22 weapons at schools in its jurisdiction since the beginning of the school year.

“17 out of 22 is not ok,” the teacher said. “It’s not. It’s too close. The 18th could be it. And we shouldn’t even be in double digits. We’re Lexington One. We as staff take pride in our district. And we should show the same to our kids. And if we’re not showing them the appropriate safety measures, then what are we doing?”

The district said that the requests from White Knoll’s administration and Principal Daughtrey are not the result of Monday’s incident, but rather ongoing considerations to improve safety and the school’s culture. Lexington One declined to provide further details as to whether or not it plans to implement these changes at the high school in the coming weeks.

On the topic of metal detectors, Lexington One reiterated that it does not plan to install them at this time.

Daughtrey said he was “very pleased” with the manner in which these requests were received by district leadership, however.

District-wide security and safety issues will be addressed by the district administration at Lexington One’s next board meeting on December 14.

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