Aiken County parents share safety concerns for the upcoming school year

Published: Jul. 26, 2022 at 11:17 PM EDT
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AIKEN, S.C. (WRDW/WAGT) - School safety is top of mind for parents as their kids get ready to head back to school.

At the school board meeting, they approved school safety plans. We were there, but they kept it pretty vague, and parents were left wanting more.

The Aiken County Public School District approved the same safety plan as the previous year for the 2022-2023 school year.

Right now, it’s pretty vague, and what they provided us is centered mostly around fire and natural disaster drills rather than planning for an active shooter, but they say they plan to discuss all of that Tuesday.

We spoke with parents to hear what they want to see achieved at next week’s meeting with the new director of security and emergency management.

When her children walk into school, Shenequa Roberson has one hope.

“That they make it home every day,” she said.

Roberson is a mom of four. She’s had at least one child in the Aiken County school system for the past 20 years.

As she prepares to drop her children off for a new school year, her worries about safety have grown.

“Things are happening so fast nowadays so when you drop your child off, I always say ‘I love you, have a good day.’ When they get out of the car, I’m praying I get to see them later,” said Roberson.

As the board members met, they approved the same safety plan as last year, without any updates.

“Honestly, I would feel more comfortable if there were tougher disciplinary reasons for bullying,” she said.

Before they focus on updating a safety plan for active shooters, she says the administration needs to look at the root of where it starts... at school.

“Kids are doing things, and when they feel like their back is against a wall, that’s when a lot of these situations happen,” she said.

Roberson explains the only way to get a grip on bullying is to have better school communication with the parents and vice versa, but an eye on the doors of the building could help as well.

“When I go to my daughter’s school, you have to go to the front and buzz you in, but if kids want to go out those side doors or let someone in, they can,” she said.

Extra money in these areas, in her opinion, could save a life and bring peace to many families.

“People are doing them more frequently and more easily, and I’m scared every day,” said Roberson.

We reached council members for an update on security plans, but they say there is nothing new until next week.

Next Tuesday, these concerns will be addressed to the new Director of Security and Emergency Management, Vicky Gaskins, a long-time Aiken County deputy about how she plans to tackle school safety.

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