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KG considers greeters for five schools

BY LINDLEY ESTES

King George County schools are considering hiring greeters to attend the entrances of five schools to quell fears about school safety that arose after the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Newtown, Conn., last month.

The greeters would be temporary through the end of the current school year, according to Superintendent Robert Benson. It would  allow the district to engage further in a statewide dialogue about how to best protect students.

Benson presented the plan  to the School Board on Monday and said,  “I think it prudent to at least offer you an idea of how this would work.”

The greeters would be positioned at the main entrance of King George, Potomac and Sealston elementary schools; King George Middle School; and the School Board Office pre-school. These buildings do not have a way to channel visitors into the office before entering the school, like King George High School does.

Greeters would be expected to interact with people “as an ambassador of the school,” according to Benson’s plan. They would ensure the school’s check-in procedures are followed for each guest and prepare, distribute and collect credentials for guests.

Each greeter would be paid $65 per day for an estimated 80 work days remaining this school year.

The total cost for the remainder of the year to hire these five employees would be $26,000.

The funds would come from existing savings in the personnel budget.

 “I think it’s a great idea,” board member Rick Randall said. “But we need to make sure we control all alternative entrances.”

Benson said he is continuing to talk with Sheriff S.F. Dempsey of King George and an architectural firm about altering the entrances to the five schools so visitors do not have direct access to the school hallway.

Benson said a long-term fix would be to include these changes in the county’s Capital Improvement Plan.

“This is not just a school proposal. It’s a county-championed proposal,” Benson said.

The board will take action on the school greeter proposal at the next regular business meeting Feb. 11.

Lindley Estes:  540/735-1976

lestes@freelancestar.com

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