School safety has been a problem in the Sumter School District for years. This very serious problem has been put on the back burner for years, but hopefully will be viewed with attention and focus now, especially in the face of the multiplicity of mass shootings and mayhem and deaths of students, teachers and other school staff which have occurred across this country.
It is important that I mention at this juncture, that I, on behalf of my 501(c)(3), nonprofit, charitable organization, The Family Unit Inc., conducted "walk-through visits" at some of the schools of the Sumter School District in early January and February of 2019 and discovered that some of the back doors of one of the elementary/middle schools were being propped open by wedge-shaped blocks of wood and also by rubber floor mats.
I made this disturbing and surprising discovery while in the company of the principals of both the elementary and middle schools. Both of these administrators admitted that they were fully aware of the fact that these doors were being propped open and that they were cognizant of the fact that some of the teachers had propped the doors open in order to keep the students from having to walk long distances around the school when traversing to and from their classes. These administrators admitted that the propping of the doors was a significant security risk to students and staff and vowed to not let this practice continue by informing the teachers to discontinue this practice.
Just as a test, in order to find out whether the school's administrators had corrected the safety and security problem at the school, the next week I discovered another wooden block was used to prop open a back door of the school!
It is extremely important to mention that, like on my first "walk-through visit to that school, I was accompanied by a school administrator. This said administrator picked up the wooden block of wood and again vowed to not let this dangerous practice continue at this school.
On two other visits that I made to the school, wooden blocks propping doors open were absent, but the doors were unlocked, and the entrance was easily accessible.
The Sumter School District's administration, the Sumter School District's Board of Trustees, the Sumter County Legislative Delegation, the Sumter County Council and the Sumter City Council were all notified in written correspondences on several occasions about the safety and security problems at the said school.
To this day .. .three years later, no response, written or otherwise, has been given from any of the above-mentioned entities in regards to the propped-open school door situation at the public schools of the Sumter School District, Sumter, South Carolina!
Hopefully, and prayerfully, all of the aforementioned officials will take notice and pay full attention, now, to the message about school safety and security, that I, on behalf of The Family Unit Inc., continually cautioned them about and that they disregarded and ignored just a few years ago!
BRENDA C. WILLIAMS, M.D.
The Family Unit, Inc., a 501(c)(3),
nonprofit, charitable organization
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