Conway school district officials continue to mull what to do to increase safety and security on school campuses, superintendent Greg Murry said in email Monday.
"Our highest priority is always the safety of our students," Murry said.
Administrators have been looking to buy cameras, buy technology to do background checks on school visitors and find other measures to increase the safety of schoolchildren in the wake of a mass shooting at a school in Connecticut this past December.
Schools now disallow anyone to use back doors.
Recently, a dad trying to deliver a backpack caused a stir when he tried to get into a school building. The police were notified.
Conway schools have become more watchful for any threats, assistant superintendent Carroll Bishop said.
By next school year, officials hope to have more security in place, but that might depend on costs, Bishop said.
The cost for cameras alone could run into the thousands of dollars, Bishop said. The district already has cameras, but some schools do not have cameras in areas like corridors, Bishop said.
Officials have not finalized any estimates for how much cameras or the background checks might cost, and the school board has not put a price cap in place, school board member Adam Lamey said.
"Everything is on the table all the time when it comes to the security of the students," Lamey said.
That includes possibly hiring more school resource officers, Lamey said. While cameras show what is happening, they aren’t preventative, he said.
"A camera isn’t going to stop anyone, it’s just going to capture what happens," Lamey said.
Officials have talked about hiring resource officers, he said. No decisions have been made.
Meanwhile, fire chief Bart Castleberry plans to meet with school officials in March to tour school campuses and make safety recommendations, Bishop said. Principals are also compiling suggestions, he said.
In June, some district representatives plan to attend a conference on school safety, Bishop said.
Lamey said no one has complained to him about school safety, which seems to be "really good," he said.
Murry said Conway schools are safe.
"Parents can rest assured that the campuses of the Conway Public Schools are a very safe place for their children to be," Murry said. "We have been and continue to be vigilant in making sure that they remain that way."
(Staff writer Scarlet Sims can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 505-1246. To comment on this and other stories in the Log Cabin, log on to www.thecabin.net. Send us your news at www.thecabin.net/submit)