BRUNSWICK COUNTY, (WWAY) — Saturday marks 20 years since 12 students and a teacher were gunned down at Columbine High School. It was the worst school shooting at the time.
The Brunswick County Sheriff’s Office Chief Deputy Charlie Miller says since the tragedy, school safety has come quite a long way.
Miller is also a member of the school board. He says since 2006, the county has spent at least eight million dollars on increasing school safety.
“It’s a different world now,” Miller said. “We have to think differently, and that’s what we’re doing.”
In his years with the Brunswick County Sheriff’s Office, Miller says he remembers the day SROs first came into their schools. Now, there are 19 schools in Brunswick county. Each has at least one SRO.
“We actually send our SROs to a military training facility that puts them under intense pressure during the summer months to make sure that we do have the right SROs in the right positions, and we do,” Miller said.
Representative Frank Iler, who sits on the House Select Committee on School Safety, says the only thing more important than education is the safety of our children.
“In Brunswick County, they should feel very safe,” Iler said. “I know we also have a high rate of parental involvement. The parents respect what the teachers and SROs are trying to do.”
Iler says that when the Sandy Hook shooting happened on a Friday, Brunswick County had an SRO in every school the following Monday.
Iler is also backing two proposed house bills to increase funding for SROs and mental health services in schools.
Miller says Brunswick County holds training every year for both law enforcement and school staff to get hands on training.
“You’re not going to have a successful school unless you provide a safe learning environment for them, and that’s what we’re going to do and that’s what they’re doing,” Miller said.
In these times, they can’t afford to become complacent.
“We always have our guard up,” Miller said. “We have our guard up everyday.”
Iler says the two house bills he supports will hopefully get passed and go into effect by the beginning of the next school year.