Over $1 million spent in securing MSCS, Millions more planned for next school year

Published: May. 25, 2022 at 5:52 PM CDT|Updated: May. 25, 2022 at 10:29 PM CDT
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Memphis Shelby County schools has spent more than $1 million over the past school year to improve campus security with a request to spend millions more still awaiting approval.

Memphis is extending their deepest sympathies to the victims of the mass shooting at an elementary school in Texas.

Many parents in Shelby County may be asking what is being done to make sure it doesn’t happen here.

Officials from Tennessee’s largest school district say for this current School year, MSCS spent over $300,000 for new metal detectors.

$550,000 was spent to upgrade wiring for intrusion alarms, cameras, and card readers and $600,000 for cameras.

There is another $2.2 million for additional technology for security pending approval from the school board.

School security funds has been a priority within the last few years for state leaders.

In 2019 the Tennessee legislature approved $40 million for the Tennessee school safety grant.

MSCS officials say they secured a portion of those funds for new screening services, additional cameras, hiring more officers and adding exterior lighting upgrades around schools.

But some say more needs to be done.

“We cannot afford to allow violence of this society and the culture to permeate schools,” said Executive Director of Memphis-Shelby County Education Association Keith Williams. “We cannot allow that to happen. Students deserve more and teachers deserve more.”

Executive Director of Memphis-Shelby County Education Association Keith Williams says MSCS also needs to have more forums with students and parents.

When it comes to school safety, he also believes the district needs to listen to the experiences of teachers.

" We have some solutions. We have some answers but very little are we asked to consult about to try to solve these problems,” said Williams. “But teachers recognize them early on and we’re on the front lines. We have to have the support in the wherewithal to contribute to the remedy of these situations.”

Billions in federal dollars is headed to Tennessee public schools.

$4.5 billion ESSER funds has been designated for Tennessee.

MSCS says $17 million in ESSER funds is earmarked for more security technology upgrades.

Memphis Shelby County Schools says they’re partnering with local law enforcement to protect students.

Memphis Police and Shelby County Sheriff’s Office say they were not contacted about extra presence at schools Wednesday, however that could change in the future.

MSCS last day of school is Friday.

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