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School Board approves beefed-up security at tournament

by Minden Press-Herald

There was a request for $2,250 to be approved for added security for the Minden Holiday Classic at Monday night’s School Board meeting at North Webster High School.

“One of the growing issues we face is security at athletic events. It’s just happening more and more when you have many instances of things happening,” assistant superintendent Kevin Washington explained to the board.

The event will be held in three locations; the Minden Recreation Complex, Webster Junior High School, and Minden High School.

“I’m sure you’re aware we’ve had some challenges and just to be proactive, and preventive, we’re asking to add more security. In some instances, school administrators don’t need to deal with persons who won’t do what’s asked of them,” Washington said.

The funds would be pulled from the District 6, .5 percent maintenance sales tax fund. School Board member Ronnie Broughton shared concerns that this money was not voted on to fund personnel which was brought up because this money is also used to fund School Resource Officers.

“I can read what the folks voted on,” Broughton said, “I would like, in fact I demand a letter from our attorneys that the District 6 half cent sales tax can be used for personnel,” Broughton said.

Rowland said he would work to satisfy Broughton’s request.

Board member Frankie Mitchell asked if the fund is used for security personnel, would it be used for safety equipment as well. Washington clarified that the fund has been used to purchase safety equipment.

“Each school, I’m almost 100% sure, will have one, two, or maybe three handheld metal detectors. We have walk-through metal detectors but the most efficient are the hand-held metal detectors,” Washington said.

Washington said that a team had done research before Johnny Rowland became superintendent with attorneys which stated the funds could be used for security and School Resource Officers were deemed security.

Mitchell said she’d received calls of School Resource Officers not doing what was expected of them. The School Board pays the majority of School Resource Officers’ salary and Mitchell was concerned that they have not been supervised effectively.

“Ms. Frankie, I think I know another thing you’re asking is their daily routine during the day. That would be on the school principal and their staff to monitor and see that their SRO’s are monitored appropriately,” superintendent Johnny Rowland said.

“There has to be some organized security duties and responsibilities. Unless we have that, you can come up and put a job description for anybody else but if you don’t have someone to do the most important thing, keeping our kids safe, I think we’re missing the boat,” Mitchell said.

Washington and Rowland agreed that they would pass on security concerns to the principals of schools with School Resource Officers. The board then voted unanimously to provide the security funding for the Holiday Classic.

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