HAYWOOD COUNTY, NC (FOX 46 WJZY) - How can school leaders stop an active shooter on campus? While Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools are revisiting talks of metal detectors, Haywood County Schools is installing safes with long guns.
In October, the Board of Education unanimously passed a motion to give the Superintendent the green light to approve law enforcements requests to install more gun safes throughout the district. Each request will be reviewed on a case by case basis.
Haywood County sits beside the Great Smoky Mountains in Western North Carolina. There are 15 schools in the districts and roughly 7,000 students. Superintendent Dr. Bill Nolte plans says his district already installed one gun safe last spring.
“Obviously you think about who can get access and what can you do to limit it to a law enforcement official.”
The gun safes will be opened by a code and paid for by local law enforcement.
“Every minute counts. Every second counts,” said Waynesville Middle School Resource Officer Dave Clancy. “My worst fear is a school shooting and I could have had the tools to stop it.” Officer Clancy already keeps a firearm at his side, but if shots rang out, he believes it would be faster to access a gun safe than going to his car for another weapon. “We’ve had cases where students brought knives or shell casings, but never had an actual weapon here on campus,” said Officer Clancy.
Parents that spoke with FOX 46 Charlotte are split over their support with more guns on campus.
“We have to keep our children safe at all costs but a safe? That doesn’t even seem logical,” said Janet Cormpton. “We aren’t at war here, and there are measures you can take without weapons fighting weapons.”
Another mother who used to live close to Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida where 17 students and a staff member were shot and killed at school, supports the extra safety measures Haywood County Schools are taking.
“It’s locked up and they can get to it easily, I just think it’s a great idea,” said Amy Reed.
Superintendent Dr. Nolte tells FOX 46 Charlotte he has weighed the pros and cons, and believes gun safes will better protect his students.
“I can’t imagine a school in the country that doesn’t have a threat fairly often,” said Nolte. “We hope we never need to use it.”