Parents get heated at Garner school safety forum

GARNER, NC (WTVD) -- Parents in Wake County got the chance to speak their minds Monday night to administrators and local law enforcement about school safety.

The forum happened at South Garner High School.

At times, parents became frustrated.

"Someone could put a gun in a backpack on a bus," said one parent. "Now, we've not seen that yet but I would rather us be prepared for something like that."

Michele Lashley was one of about 30 parents in attendance.

"What I haven't heard enough of about is preventative measures," she said in the forum. "I know there's nothing that absolutely or permanently stop a gunman from coming in if he or she wants to, but there's got to be something more that we can do."

Lashley's son is a sophomore at South Garner. She suggested bringing metal detectors into the school.

"My concern is that a lot of what we continue to hear is 'Check social media and talk with your child,' but we know that," she said.

Garner's Police Chief and the high school principal stressed vigilance Monday though the chief admitted there isn't a single step he could take to prevent a Parkland from happening in Garner.

"We don't have the ability to make sure nothing happens at this school," Chief Brandon Zuidema said.

Administrators also asked the room of parents to monitor their children's social media accounts.

"The more people you have talking about it, the more the conversation grows," said Carter Hillman, principal of South Garner HS. "I think us not talking about will just shrink the conversation and it's going to go back to the status quo."

Zuidema said he believes the department is doing the best job it with the resources available, and he noted the success of the school resource officer program.

"I think it's a continued effort to educate," Zuidema said. "It's a continued effort to make sure people appreciate that this is serious."

In addition to readdressing the "Run, Fight and Hide" program, officials said parents should prepare students for life-and-death situations.

Lashley couldn't believe that.

"I can't even imagine having a conversation telling my child to fight someone with an AR-15," she said.

Since Parkland, administrators said they've had four or five incidents on campus - all of them have been investigated and deemed to have no merit.
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