Central High looking to win grant money for security improvements

CENTRAL, LA (WAFB) - It is the question school leaders ask themselves after hearing about school shootings elsewhere around the country, "How do we make our schools safer?" Central Community Schools want to update the security at one of its schools. To get it done though, they need help from the community.

Central High School has 1,200 students and around 100 faculty members, according to the school's principal, David Prescott. With so many people moving around campus, Prescott wants to make sure things are secure.

"At the moment, these doors should be locked and they're not," he said, checking one set of doors in the back of the school.

Prescott says there are many access points, and doors around the school. His hope is to one day have an automated lock system controlling all the doors.

In the rear of the school, there are seven doors that could give access to parts of the school. There are several more doors that open to the auxiliary building.

At one time, he says, the school was wired with security cameras. The cameras are still there, but when the Internet was rewired the cameras quit working.

This year the superintendent had a fence put up around the perimeter of the school. In places, there are padlocks on the fencing, but even that can be problematic if someone forgets to lock it.

"When you have to rely on humans to do it, they get caught up in their daily activities," he said. "All it takes is one time."

Last week, the principal says, a buzzer was installed at the front of the school and is controlled by office staff. But, it's only on one door.

"We're interested in surveillance, cameras, the perimeter being safer," said Janet Stevens, the grant writer for the district.

She found the Together for Safer Schools Grant and nominated Central High. The winner will get $200,000 of security equipment. The catch though - whoever gets the most votes wins.

"I saw no Louisiana schools and have not heard of any in the area. I believe we're the only one," Stevens said.

The school is in the running with 90 around the country, only four will ultimately be selection. Three runner-up schools will each be awarded $100,000.

Stevens says you can vote once a day, using each of your email addresses. Voting ends December 13, 2013.

Visit www.stanleysaferschools.com to cast your votes.