NEWPORT — U.S. Congressman Dr. Greg Murphy reviewed security measures taking place at two Carteret County public schools, then toured Carteret Community College to receive an update on programs Wednesday.
Murphy first toured East Carteret High School to see the addition of door access controls and other safety efforts, including an outdoor security corridor that was previously added at the school.
School officials, along with county law enforcement, Newport and county officials then accompanied Murphy on a tour of Newport Elementary School, where workers are finishing up a seven-foot security wall that will connect buildings on the campus.
Murphy said he was glad to see the county being proactive with efforts to secure school buildings, including the hiring of School Resource Officers at all public schools this year.
“I wanted to inspect some of the safety initiatives taking place, and I like what I’ve seen,” he said during a luncheon at Newport Elementary School. “We live in a different time now, and it’s good to see that Down Dast schools are stepping up security.”
He added that it would take partnerships among federal, state and county agencies to ensure the safety of students.
“We need to work together so children and parents can understand that our school campuses are a safe place,” Murphy said.
The congressman also briefly met with teachers, staff and students at both schools.
Superintendent Dr. Rob Jackson said he appreciated Murphy taking an interest in the schools. He further said that he expects the wall at Newport Elementary School to be ready in time for the return of students on Aug. 29.
Newport Elementary School Principal Mary Ellington said she was grateful to see the wall nearly completed and the addition of a full-time SRO on campus starting next week.
“It makes me feel like we have a safer school for our children,” she said. “The SRO allows us to have more eyes on our children, and that wall will let us know we have an additional line of defense to protect our students.”
At CCC, Murphy toured a number of programs, including multiple allied health classes, boatbuilding, diesel technology, horticulture and welding.
Murphy said he believes strongly in the mission of the community college system and considers CCC a “gem on the coast.”
He emphasized that students can receive a quality education at a lower cost at community colleges compared to four-year universities.
“You all operate on a shoestring budget and turn out students ready for the workforce at a fraction of the cost of universities,” Murphy said.
CCC President Dr. Tracy Mancini said she appreciated the congressman touring the campus and boasted about the dedication of her faculty and staff.
“We have very dedicated faculty here who love to teach students and a lot of them came from business and industry,” she said.
Contact Cheryl Burke at 252-726-7081, ext. 255; email Cheryl@thenewstimes.com; or follow on Twitter @cherylccnt.