Aiken County, SC (WJBF)- The Aiken County Public School District has hired its first Director of Security and Emergency Management.
Her name is Vicky Gaskins. She is a 24-year veteran with the Aiken County Sheriff’s office, where she previously served as a deputy and school resource officer.
Both the school district and parents agree the new position is much needed.
“They definitely needed more security. Definitely in the high schools, the middle schools and even some of the elementary schools,” said Jessica Lee, an Aiken County Parent.
Lee has a child in Aiken County schools and said she thinks every school in the district should have a resource officer.
“I was very concerned when I found out that the middle school that my daughter went to didn’t have one at all. And the high school she’s at now only has one. And they need more or the need to teach teachers how to shoot.”
A new security chief is now in place. Gaskins officially takes the reins in a few weeks.
Overseeing school resource officers will be one of Gaskins’s duties in her new role. She will also , monitor district wide security operations, help with school investigations and coordinate with law enforcement and emergency management.
Ronnie Tidwell says he is happy to see the district working to keep kids safe.
“And in light of recent events in other schools, and fortunately we haven’t had such a terrible incident here, it’s good that we’re taking steps to prevent that,” said Tidwell.
Tidwell’s children are all Aiken County graduates. He has a young grand daughter and says he would be concerned for her safety if she were in any school.
“I have a lot of reservations about my grandkids going to public school. Public or private I think our children need to be protected at every measure that we can afford,” he said.
When Gaskins starts her new job, she will assess the district’s emergency plans, identify safety issues, and then decide what she plans to do to address those concerns.
Gaskins’s duties will start sometime in July.
Photojournalist: Will Baker.