Moms and Pops ready to help Vance County Schools

Sep. 03, 2013 @ 07:46 PM

A new security program is adding an extra set of eyes to help administrators and teachers keep students safe on school property.

Beginning this school year, the Moms and Pops program will provide all 16 Vance County schools with about four to five volunteers to patrol school buildings and grounds.

Vance County Schools spokeswoman Terri Hedrick said the volunteers’ role is to ensure students are where they should be and intruders are prevented from accessing school entrances.

Heddie Somerville, principal at Pinkston Street Elementary School, said her school would benefit from additional patrol on school grounds.

She said Pinkston Street has experienced problems in the past with people from the neighborhood crossing school property.

“Being a neighborhood school, people who live in the area will walk through or they congregate outside,” she said. “Having the volunteers here and getting it out to the community that they are here, will help with our situation.”

The high schools, particularly Northern Vance and Southern Vance, face a different set of security issues.

“The high schools are much larger, just the building themselves are much bigger,” Hedrick said. “Northern is very spread out. It used to hold as many as 1,700 students. Something like that is very hard to police.”

Hedrick said the program requires a criminal background check from all potential volunteers.

“The volunteers are not necessarily just parents,” she said. “Some are grandparents and some are citizens in the community who want to be involved in the county schools.”

Pam and Phil Grissom, who have one grandchild at Aycock Elementary and two at Southern Vance, are offering to help with the new program.

“We are waiting for the security check before we go through with paperwork,” Pam Grissom said Tuesday.

Passing the background check shouldn’t be a problem for the Grissoms, who have volunteered in their grandchildren’s schools before for field trips, dances and many other occasions.

Pam Grissom said she was concerned that so few people turned out to the informational meeting over the summer.

“I was shocked by all the empty seats,” she said.

Hedrick said she was expecting about 60 volunteers, but only about 40 attended the meeting.

“Volunteer support does vary from school to school,” Hedrick said.

The new program comes as the county is in the early phases of a four-year process to implement a new door security system.

Call box systems and cameras inside the front office would be installed during the first phase, followed by the installation of card readers.

Contact the writer at smansur@hendersondispatch.com.