The SOS Mission:
Our community, neighbors, friends, and families all worry about school safety in the wake of the new norm of school shootings. The problem is, we all want action but don’t know what the solutions are. That is how and why SOS was formed – to establish the solutions our schools need. SOS-Secure Our School is a community-led fundraising effort to improve the safety and security of the Dorchester District 2 schools in South Carolina.
Dorchester District 2 has the same issues as every other school district in the US. They have a budget that must support many schools, focusing on education while maintaining their facilities as well as continuous improvements through technology and training. DD2 in particular has 25 schools with over 25,000 students and roughly 4000 staff employees. School systems have never had to account for enhanced and elaborate security in their budgets. However, we now live in an era that requires our schools to be more secure. Unfortunately, enhancing security is expensive, and due to budget constraints, it will take many years to get all school systems up to par.
We cannot stand idle and leave our children and education professionals vulnerable to ever-growing security concerns. It is time to take initiative.
Established by parents in the DD2 community, SOS is the fundraising initiative created with the objective of improving the safety and security of our schools. Through fundraisers, we believe SOS will grow as a community led effort to conserve our DD2 schools. Before fundraising begins, we must have a clear understanding of what is required to secure our schools. A list of action items is currently being developed by the DD2 Safety Task Force committee composed of district members as well as parents and professionals in various fields, including law enforcement, education, and health care, among others. These action items are being identified as priorities district-wide to improve the safety and security in our schools. A number of these action items have and will be presented to the Board of Trustees to be incorporated into the budget and implemented. Others are simply too costly and not able to find their way into the confines of the budget at this time. These will be the items SOS focuses on in our fundraising efforts.
SOS is working with Dorchester Two Educational Foundation where all donations are directed. Dorchester Two Educational Foundation is a 501(c)(3) Non-profit organization, with Tax ID#: 46-3049858.
School Security Improvements
In order to focus on school security and safety, Dorchester District 2 formed the Safety Task Force committee. The group is composed of district members as well as parents and professionals in various fields, including law enforcement, education, and health care, among others. This committee has developed a running-list of action items that have been identified as priorities district-wide to improve the safety and security in our schools. Some of these action items have been or will be presented to the Board of Trustees to be incorporated into the budget and implemented; however, others are simply too costly and not able to find their way into the confines of the budget at this time. SOS is focused on these ‘other’ action items in our fundraising efforts because we believe they require immediate action. The Safety Task Force has prioritized the following as the top 5 action items.
Door Locks and Door Alarms
Door locks are currently being upgraded and standardized across all DD2 schools. Alarms need to be added to access doors that may permit unwanted entry from the outside.
Bi-Directional Antenna Systems
Communications throughout the schools is crucial when responding to an emergency. Some schools are in remote areas or have structures which make it difficult to use radio and mobile communications. These schools need to have specialized systems installed to combat this issue.
School Bus Security
Details are being developed to establish enhanced identification and video surveillance systems for all DD2 school buses.
Exterior School Windows and Vestibule Area Improvements
Key exterior windows to classrooms and lunchroom or gathering areas need enhancements in many schools. School entrance vestibule areas also need enhancements in security. Each school has its own needs and plans are being developed and prioritized as to what these needs are.
Smart 911 System
This system would quickly and seamlessly connect all DD2 schools directly to law enforcement, fire, and medical services in the event of an emergency.
Kits for Our Kids
Kits for our kids initiative
In July of 2018, a grant was awarded equipping DD2 schools with 600 Bleeding Control Kits. The kits contain a tourniquet, scissors, gloves, bleeding control patch, bandage, and a gauze with a clotting agent. However, medical professionals across the nation are stressing that these kits should be in every classroom and school bus. 600 kits is a great accomplishment, but for DD2, this only fills roughly 24 classrooms per each of the 25 schools. In addition to and in conjunction with the Bleeding Control Kits, DD2 began providing all staff employees in 2018 with “Stop the Bleed” training done by EMS professionals and the school nurses. This training educated the staff on how to effectively use the Bleeding Control Kits. With this in mind, we are striving to raise the funds to purchase the additional 1400 kits necessary to fill every classroom and school bus in DD2. We would like every teacher to have these kits readily available in their classroom to ensure that they are adequately prepared to always take care of their kids if an emergency arises. Please donate as you are able, and let’s get all of DD2’s classrooms and buses stocked with these life-saving Bleeding Control Kits.
DD2 schools training on how to use Bleeding Control Kits. Training supplied by medical professionals including DD2 school Nurses for all staff and faculty.
For more information on the “Kits for Our Kids” Initiative, click on the “Learn More” button above.
Current events = CALL TO ACTION!
A long time ago some school somewhere caught fire and most likely caused a lot of damage and maybe even a loss of lives. Again, another school was in the unfortunate path of a tornado and suffered similar consequences. Schools everywhere now prepare for these scenarios with the use of fire and tornado drills. Active shooter drills are no different. It is our reality now and we must prepare. Just like preparing for fires and tornados with changes in building codes and procedures, we must also do the same for safety and security.
When and what are THEY going to do about this? There is no THEY, there is only WE! So where do WE start? This is exactly how the DD2 Safety Task Force Committee and SOS-Secure Our School were founded. Many caring and compassionate people with various life experiences have banded together with DD2 to develop action items that must be implemented sooner rather than later. These action items can be found on this website and have been prioritized as a result of many discussions and a lot of research.