LUMBERTON — The Public Schools of Robeson County has been awarded more than $1 million in school safety grant funding from the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction’s Center for Safer Schools.

The school safety funding in the amount of $1,048,000 will be used to address bus safety by purchasing radios for every bus (yellow and activity buses) to improve communications and to place uniform keyed entry systems at all PSRC facilities. 

“The keyed entry additions will give first responders access needed to enter buildings in case of an emergency event,” said Bobby Locklear, assistant superintendent of Auxiliary Services at PSRC. 

“The Public Schools of Robeson County is pleased to receive funding to address safety measures on our buses and campuses. We are committed to providing safe learning environments and partnering with multiple agencies to make that happen. Safety is and remains the top priority of our district as thousands of students return to campuses each day to learn and receive a quality education,” said PSRC Superintendent Freddie Williamson. 

The district’s share is among a total of more than $74.1 million allocated through NCDPI’s Center for Safe Schools.

“The funding will be used for safety equipment, school resource officers, training and services for students in crisis in elementary, middle and charter schools across the state. High schools were eligible for funding other than for school resource officers,” information from NCDPI states. 

“The School Safety Grant enhances schools’ efforts to keep our students safe,” said Karen W. Fairley, executive director of the Center for Safer Schools. “We’re thankful that we had the funding available to distribute, and we know it will go to good use.” 

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Catherine Truitt also echoed the need for funding to support school safety.

“School safety is a top priority for the Department of Public Instruction as it is for students, families, educators – all of us,” Truitt said. “It goes without saying that safety is an essential condition for effective teaching and learning. The Center for Safer Schools did a great job ensuring that each applicant received as much funding as possible to meet that critical need.” 

About the School Safety Grant 

In 2018, the General Assembly worked with then-state Superintendent Mark Johnson to launch a new School Safety Grant Program to improve safety in public school units by providing grants for school resource officers, services for students in crisis, training to increase school safety, safety equipment in schools and additional school mental health support personnel. Since then, more than $120 million has been awarded to public school units across North Carolina.

About the Center for Safer Schools 

The Center for Safer Schools serves to promote safe learning environments for North Carolina K-12 schools. The CFSS serves as a hub of information and technical assistance on school safety to school faculty and staff, law enforcement, youth-serving community agencies, juvenile justice officials, policymakers, parents/guardians and students. CFSS staff focuses on school climate, school discipline and emergency preparedness concerns for North Carolina’s public K-12 schools. CFSS staff is available to provide training, guidance and technical assistance upon request for school faculty and staff and those working with children and adolescents. The CFSS is headed by Karen W. Fairley, executive director. 

For more information, click here for the full press release by NCDPI.