Bus radios, more security features coming to Robeson County schools

Published: Mar. 17, 2023 at 5:53 PM EDT
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ROBENSON COUNTY, N.C. (WMBF) - Whether kids are in school or even inside the school bus, the Public Schools of Robeson County are focusing on adding more security for the next school year.

School district staff said they received a grant from the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction’s Center for Safer Schools that will allow them to add new safety measures.

Administrators said the grant money, which totals just over $1 million, will be split into two projects.

One project will provide cameras on school front doors and add radios on school buses. Right now, their focus is on the radios.

“We could possibly lose a life for one of our students, and that’s a thought that all of us have every single day. That’s why we always say safety is our number one priority,” said Assistant Superintendent of Auxiliary Services Bobby Locklear.

Bus driver Tammi Rozier has been working as a bus driver for 26 years and said the radios are much needed.

“We can’t get anyone when a bus breaks down in bad areas or if the kids are fighting, and we might need a rapid response at that time,” she said.

Officials said the district will be installing 400 radios, which cost around $1,500 per unit.

Locklear mentioned that the radios will increase communication between the school and bus drivers when cell reception is spotty.

Rozier said having the radios will bring some relief when dealing with situations involving students.

“There was a fight with five boys. I couldn’t get through to the school. I couldn’t get through transportation. I had to call the police station. Which is dangerous as a female to go and break it off,” said Rozier.

Locklear said each bus driver will go to training for several days and learn how to use the radios.

“If we have a situation where there are students communicating, there’s a weapon on the bus. Now the bus driver has to wait off campus and find the assistant principal. Now the bus driver can communicate prior to getting on campus,” he said.

The district does have a spending deadline of June 6 for the grant money, but Locklear said both projects should be completed in time for the next school year.