New schools being built brings school safety issue to mind

CCSD is constantly striving to keep their schools as safe as possible (Source: Scott Garrand/WCIV)

By Sonya

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) -- With five schools currently being built in Charleston County, the question that comes to mind is what school district officials are doing to make sure they are safe for future students.

After the Sandy Hook School shooting, the district's safety plan was re-evaluated.

"Sandy Hook was the first time in any of the school situation where someone used any assault rifle to blast their way into a school and so we have put a lot of work in the past years on our vestibules," said Bill Lewis, the Chief Operating Officer for Capitol Programs.

The school district wants to insure that there is controlled access into all the schools and that the material in those vestibules, or entryways, is as safe as possible.

"It's not bullet proof glass because bullet proof glass is about inch and a half to two inches thick but the new multi-laminated glass that we use to meet the Miami-Dade standards is very effective, so we are making that change," said Lewis.

But it isn't just the new schools that are getting these safety upgrades -- they are taking place in the older schools as well.

"When we came up with the criteria with our middle and elementary schools of having controlled vestibules, we could immediately pivot on the new schools but then we brought to the board a recommendation to go back in and retrofit our existing elementary and middle schools and we have done that," said Lewis.

And Lewis says that school safety will always be a top priority.

"We have a superintendent who is absolutely, thoroughly committed to school safety," said Lewis. "Will we ever stop trying to improve the plan? Never, never. Will we always be benchmarking the next technology or process or material? With absolute passion, we'll be doing that."