R2 implements safety screenings

Richland School District Two Superintendent Dr. Kim Moore and Blythewood High School Principal Matt Sherman help screen students at Blythewood High on Tuesday.

BLYTHEWOOD – Students in Richland School District Two returned to schools on Tuesday. A big difference for high school students this year: security screenings.

Yesterday, the district tweeted, “Today was day one in the operation of safety screenings at all five Richland Two high schools,” and it seemed to be a success at Blythewood High School

Richland Two Superintendent Dr. Kim Moore, Chief Operations Officer Will Anderson, Board Members Angela Nash and Joe Trapp, and Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott were all on campus at Blythewood High School (BHS) on Tuesday for the first day of security screenings.

“Safety of our students and our staff is the most important thing,” Anderson said in a video posted by the district on Twitter. “We’ve been working hard for literally over the last 6-9 months really analyzing the best materials, the best equipment… we did pop up screenings over second semester of the spring to really kind of fig of the spring to really kind of figure out how we could best implement this.”

Dr. Moore participated by helping students move through the screening lines as they arrived for their first day.

“We are determined to make sure that students, faculty and staff have a safe environment for them to teach and learn in,” she said.

Students interviewed by Richland Two agreed that it was a step in the right direction for keeping schools safe.

“It was nothing. I just feel safer doing that during the school year,” said Blythewood High student Heather Robinson.

Adam Stack said the process was hassle-free.

“Kind of easy to get in and out. I’m kind of used to it from Dent, because we had quite a bit of screenings, so it’s like a habit for me… something that I’m pretty used to,” he said.

Blythewood High School students after screenings on Tuesday.

Moore, Lott and BHS Principal Matt Sherman agreed that the morning went smoothly.

“I think the pop ups last year helped us learn the process,” Sherman said. “The kids have done very well, even the rising freshmen seem very familiar with it – they’re prepared. I think these kids know that it’s to keep everyone safe. It’s another layer of support and it’s well-received.

“We recognize that we have to have a very rigid plan to make sure that we’re safe. Metal detectors are needed. We are prepared for the volume of students that come in. This is our first day, it’s a new routine, but we’re off to a great start.”

Sherman said that screenings won’t be isolated to morning arrivals – there will be a screening station ready to receive visitors throughout the day at Blythewood High School.

Board member Angela Nash said she thought the energy at the school was great and no one seemed bothered by the screening process.

“What we heard from a lot of our constituents and our parents and teachers,” she said, “is that they wanted something to make them feel safer, and so a part of that was metal detectors.”

Sheriff Leon Lott said the new layer of protection is one that will fit seamlessly with those already in place.

“We’ve got to make sure kids feel safe when they come to school, but the parents have got to feel comfortable too. If the parents are scared, the kids are going to be scared, so something like this, and all the other things we do – our school resource officers, metal detectors, the school safety plans that all the schools have – that all goes hand-in-hand in making sure that the kids feel comfortable coming to school. They know they’re going to be safe,” Lott said.

“It’s sending a message to everybody that this school district cares about the safety of our kids, and they’re going to do everything that they can to make sure our schools are safe,” he said. This is just one of the means they do it.”

R2 Super Dr. Kim Moore helped process students through Tuesday’s screenings.

Contact us: (803) 767-5711 | P.O. Box 675, Blythewood, SC 29016 | [email protected]