With more than 160,000 students, Wake County Public School System is North Carolina's largest school district. In addition to those students, more than 10,000 teachers help staff the 183 school buildings.
Despite several requests, administrators declined to make anyone available to address security concerns on-camera, but they still offered some information on procedures and protocols.
According to a spokesperson for Wake County Schools, a number of things have been done to "harden up" school security, including:
Every staff member has basic lockdown training annually. Key staff members (those who have key roles during emergency response) have advanced lockdown training annually. Emergency Team Members at each location have emergency operations plan training annually. All emergency team members have to complete and receive certification in incident command training provided by FEMA.
Critical Incident Response Kits
Every school has a critical incident response kit specific to that school with information and resources they would need during an emergency. The contents of this kit are not public information. Every classroom has an emergency kit, which includes materials used to respond to a medical situation. They also contain secure information used to respond to an emergency, so again the contents are not public information.
WCPSS employs 10 security administrators, who visit multiple schools daily for random security checks and visits.
There is an annual security review of every campus, they are considered sensitive security information and not released to the public.
A 2013 bond issue allocated more than $7 million to install thousands of cameras across all campuses. Each of the 29 high schools have at least 64 cameras, the 36 middle schools have at least 32 cameras, and the 113 elementary schools have at least 16 cameras. In most cases, the number of cameras exceed the minimum requirement.
School Resource Officers
Also known as SROs, these positions are trained and staffed by local law enforcement agencies, which include police and the Wake County Sheriff. There are currently 71 SROs - one for each high school and middle school, but not nearly enough for all elementary schools. District administrators explained that it's up to the municipality if it wants to provide an SRO at a given school.
All schools are equipped with secure entrance doors, which can only be opened manually from inside the building. Additionally, each classroom door has the ability to be secured from inside.
On its website, WCPSS promises "Our school system has plans and procedures in place to protect your child and communicate with you in the event of an emergency. Our security department works with school staff, local law enforcement and other public health and safety leaders to make our campuses safe places to learn.
To protect our students and staff, most WCPSS schools are outfitted with electronic security systems including burglar alarms, digital video recorders, access controls and a computerized keying system. We are also working on implementing a global card access control system. We are currently the only school system in North Carolina with a central monitoring station that oversees these systems.
If you have any questions or security concerns, contact our security department at (919) 431-7777 between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. After normal working hours, call the Alarm Monitoring Center with any security concerns at (919) 856-2890."