MOREHEAD CITY — The county school system has received four grants totaling $170,000 that will improve safety for students.

Interim Superintendent Richard Paylor said the grants, funded through the N.C. Department of Public Instruction’s Center for Safer Schools, will improve safety by providing equipment, training, crisis services and a school resource officer.

“As a school system, the most important thing we focus on is school safety and supporting our students and employees in times of crisis,” he said Friday during a press conference at Morehead City Elementary School.

He further thanked law enforcement for its support in protecting county schools. In particular, he thanked Lt. James Gaskill, the school resource officer at Morehead City Elementary School, who assisted in applying for grants.

Lt. Gaskill, an officer with the Morehead City Police Department, agreed the safety of schools was a top priority, which is why he was excited about receiving funding to support a SRO position at Morehead City Middle School, as well as other improvements.

“Helping students and teachers feel safe by having an officer in the school is very important,” he said.

The four grants and their uses are:

  • A $47,284.23 grant received on behalf of the town of Morehead City to be used for security camera upgrades at Morehead City Elementary School and for flashing school zone lights on roads by MCES, Morehead City Primary, West Carteret High School and MCMS.
  • A $33,333 grant to provide funding to the town of Morehead City for an SRO at MCMS. Morehead City has partnered with county commissioners to provide the remaining funds needed for the position. The SRO works at MCMS during the school year and for Morehead City for the remainder of the year.
  • A $78,000 grant to fund services for students in crisis. Those funds will be used to contract with a licensed professional therapist to provide onsite individual, family and group therapy, as well as crisis response services to students and their families. The professional will primarily service Bridges Learning Center, an alternative school on the campus of WCHS, but could also serve students in other schools in times of need.
  • A $6,600 grant to fund school safety training. The funds will be used to provide crisis prevention and preparedness training to all school administrators, student support team members and others. The training will provide a comprehensive approach to handling crisis and the responses to trauma.

Mr. Paylor said Director of Student Services Dr. Sue Kreuser and Communications Director Tabbie Nance wrote the grant applications in the fall, with assistance from Lt. Gaskill, the town of Morehead City and other agencies.

He added that the school system administration plans to apply for the grants each year.

Contact Cheryl Burke at 252-726-7081, ext. 255; email Cheryl@thenewstimes.com; or follow on Twitter @cherylccnt.

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