CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – In this hour-long special edition of 2 The Point, we are focusing on a timely topic that is front of mind for families as the school year approaches: school safety.

The 2020-2021 school year saw a record 93 shootings with deaths or injuries, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.

As gun violence continues to escalate in the United States, parents, law enforcement, and school administrators are grappling with how to keep students and teachers safe in the classroom.

We gathered the leaders who are tasked with overseeing safety in three local school districts to discuss what plans are in place to prevent an incident from occurring and the response as to what they are doing to prevent an incident this year, and how they are preparing to mitigate an incident should one occur.

In the first portion of our conversation, we spoke to Charleston County Sheriff Kristin Graziano, Berkeley County Sheriff L.C. Knight, and Dorchester County Sheriff Duane Lewis.

The sheriffs discussed the School Resource Officer program and how SRO’s contribute to school safety, how they train SRO’s to respond to a variety of threats, what is being done to harden school campuses, how their agencies train to respond to a mass casualty event, and whether teachers should be armed.

Later, we spoke to Charleston County School District Chief Operating Officer Jeff Borowy, Berkeley County School District Chief Pupil Services Officer Tim McDowell, and Dorchester District Two Director of Security Preston Geit.

All three men agreed that SRO’s are an integral part of keeping schools safe. They also described other measures each district is taking to enhance security, such as bringing in weapons detection dogs, introducing new apps to immediately notify officials of an emergency, and physically securing campuses.

We also asked the administrators about how they’re working to improve transparency and communication with parents. They said that they understand why parents value immediate updates, but their priority is making sure the information parents receive is accurate.

News 2 is grateful to all of our participants for the important discussion and information as we prepare for the upcoming school year.