BERKELEY COUNTY, S.C. (WCBD) – School safety is a major topic of discussion in the Lowcountry, now that students have returned to the classroom. Wednesday, News 2 spoke with Berkeley County Exchange Club founder, Michael Gaston Sr. about his organization’s efforts to keep students safe.

“I asked myself, ‘What can I do? What can I do?’” Gaston said.

That’s the question that repeatedly played in Gaston’s mind following the tragic mass shooting in Uvalde, Texas that left 19 students and two teachers dead.

“When I see something like that,” Gaston said, “I basically cannot imagine what those parents feel. And when you have that helpless feeling, you know, tears come to my eyes about those parents who lost their kids. They went to school, now they’re not coming back home.”

Gaston says it was important for his organization to call a meeting to help ease the concerns of Lowcountry parents sending their students back to school.

“The Exchange Club of Berkeley County,” Gaston said, “said that we need to get there and get speakers in there to talk to the community because they have concerns and they have questions and things that we may tell them that can advise them to help protect their kids.”

Gaston says Wednesday evening, Berkeley County School District superintendent Deon Jackson will talk extensively about preventive measures being taken to combat any potential threat.

“From my understanding,” he said, “what they’re going to do to keep students safe, they’re going to do a little bit more security checking. Also, they’re going to check and make sure all the doors, outside doors, exit-entries are secure. And there is going to be more staffing from my understanding for the officers that are going to be there.”

Gaston hopes Wednesday’s meeting will help build bonds within the Berkeley County community.

“When we work together,” Gaston said, “talk together, we find ways of solving problems before they even happen. So, we want to be more preventive than reactive.”