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HCS Focuses On School Safety

“Safety in our schools and district offices is always our top priority,” noted Interim Superintendent, Dr. Shannon Register.  “Prevention and preparedness are where we must focus our efforts and a collaborative and community approach are critical.”  

Hoke County Schools’ district administration, along with safety team representatives from Hoke County High School, met with members of the Hoke County Sheriff’s Department and Raeford Police Department on Tuesday morning to discuss school safety with a focus on safety at Hoke County High School.  

During the meeting, HCHS principal, Dr. Thomas Benson, reviewed their school’s safety protocols.  Benson explained the lockdown procedure to the group and shared what works well with the current plan and where improvements and adjustments can be made.  The group was in agreement that with any safety protocol, communication, internal and external, is vital to its success, and the group brainstormed and offered feedback on ways communication, during drills or real-time incidents, can be improved.   

The group also decided to add K-9 searches, led by the Hoke County Sheriff’s Department, to the safety measures being implemented at Hoke County High School.  It was explained that these measures had been shown to be a deterrent for weapons, drugs, and other illicit items on campus.  Sheriff Roderick Virgil pointed out during the meeting that the K-9 searches would take place on a “random periodic schedule” and that the dogs would be handled by a trained officer who would be accompanied by a school administrator or school safety team member.  

Other items discussed were the need for improvement of the camera system at the high school, the need for an additional School Resource Officer to bring the total to nine for the district, and the expansion of training and services for students in crisis that are available through the School Safety Grant that Hoke County Schools received last fall.  These safety supports will enhance HCS’ readiness to respond to crisis situations and keep students safe.  In addition, the proposed renovations and new construction at Hoke County High School will also addresses safety issues by reducing the number of entrance points and alleviate overcrowding.

Administration from the district, school, and law enforcement vowed to continue to meet regularly to discuss school safety and security.  Dr. Register shared, “We want to ensure that for our students, our staff, our families, and our community, Hoke County Schools remains a safe place to learn and to work”.