Community rallies around school safety

GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) – On Tuesday, the Greenville Police Community Relations Committee held an open forum to discuss safety in schools in Pitt County.

Multiple agencies were on hand for the meeting including the Greenville Police Department, Pitt County Sheriff’s Office and Pitt County Board of Commissioners.

The main theme revolved around the idea of ‘See or hear something, say something.”

Concerned parents and students heard from law enforcement and elected leaders on the challenges in protecting our schools.

Pitt County Sheriff Neil Elks said there’s a need for more funding to ensure school safety.

“I think it’s time now that we demand making schools a hard target,” said Elks. “I think we need to get behind the people to make those decisions both at the local level and state level.”

Pitt County schools superintendent Dr. Ethan Lenker said despite improved technology, issues of building design and campus layout, make some schools hard to completely secure.

Dr. Lenker said, “When schools are built in the 30’s and 40’s right next to the football stadium, it’s a gorgeous place but when you have a wide open campus there are some things you have to do differently.”

Although asked to stay away from the gun debate, many felt there was no way around it.

People took the time to speak up for, and against, the idea of teachers having guns.

One of the main points discussed was a need for more school resource officers.

Currently, Pitt County has 14 school resource officers in 11 different schools. That leaves the county with 26 schools without a school resource officer.

One man spoke out and suggested the money earned off the red light traffic camera system go toward paying for more school resource officers

Dr. Lenker said, as of now, that money is frozen in a bank account due to a lawsuit against the system.


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