Security Report Leads to Changes at New Hanover Co. Schools

NEW HANOVER CO. -- Changes are coming to New Hanover County schools. There won't be metal detectors like at the airport, but there will be a similarity.

"We're doing keyless entries for all elementary schools. That's a big one. We have to make it comfortable for the staff to enter and exit the schools but the general community will have to go through the portal like they do at the airport," says Assistant Superintendent Al Lerch.

That's one of the changes due to the results of an intruder test conducted at New Hanover County schools using researchers posing as strangers. The amount of time it took school staffers to halt and escort the "intruders" to the front office nearly doubled from last year to this year. The intruders had access to all areas of some buildings. At others, they were near unsupervised young children.

Stephanie Kraybill is head of the county PTA. She says adults need to help.

"Parents and community members need to really work with their schools and not be offended when they're stopped and asked where they're going."

And in the wake of this, the schools say they're committed to doing more stopping and asking.

Reported by Jim Hanchett