Bradley Co community pitches in for school safety - | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Bradley Co community pitches in for school safety

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BRADLEY COUNTY, TN (WRCB) - A local elementary school is making major upgrades to security. Safety concerns have parents, teachers and community members reaching into their own wallets to cover the costs. So far they've raised tens of thousands of dollars to make Bradley County's Prospect Elementary School safer.

This safety push all started with a call from a concerned grandparent to Prospect Elementary School's principal following the Sandy Hook shooting tragedy in Connecticut the middle of last school year. Now it's the focus of an entire community, that's working together to protect their school from violence.

The school's privacy fences, cameras and locks are all proof that just because it's not in the school budget, doesn't mean you can't have it. A determined Bradley County community is making it harder for for an intruder to get inside Prospect Elementary School.

"He said 'I want to see your safety plan' and I got to thinking. I know we've got one and we look at it and then I thought, you know what, maybe it's time for some people to come together and look at what we have," Principal Steve Montgomery said.

It was a call that prompted Principal Steve Montgomery to form a safety committee of teachers, parents, church and business leaders. Fast forward a little more than a year and they've raised around $30,000 for additional security.

"I've got 25 new locks that'll be put on the classrooms and these you can lock from inside," Montgomery said.

That's the latest on a list of safety upgrades they've made thanks to fundraisers, like pancake breakfasts, trash bag sales, an auction, and individual donors. The first purchase was a massive privacy fence.

"Very quickly a dream became a reality to get that enclosed," Prospect Elementary teacher/parent Kris Ellis said.

Teacher and parent Kris Ellis says the Sandy Hook tragedy was a wake up call to everyone about the need for more safety measures.

"It was a reality that that could very well happen at Prospect. It could happen at any school, anywhere," she said.

"It is a total team effort and they want to make sure we're doing everything we can to keep all our people safe," Montgomery said.

They'll continue raising money for even more improvements, like connecting the two buildings.

They've also been practicing emergency response drills once a week. Principal Montgomery says the results are obvious by how quickly the students can do them now.

They plan to add 14 more surveillance cameras over summer break.

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