PELHAM, Ga. (WALB) - Pelham City School Charter System will use new safety grant funds to enhance security at all schools, according to district leaders.
The Department of Education gave the district nearly $90,000.
The school system will use $30,000 of it for security improvements at each school.
At Pelham Elementary School, new fencing will go up around the edges.
Both the elementary and middle schools will get vestibules to help eliminate unwanted guests.
“The things that we’ve gotten from our community work sessions is that our families in the community are very concerned about safety. So we have made an intentional effort in Pelham City Schools Charter System to improve the safety in all of our schools,” said Superintendent Floyd Fort.
Fort also said they’ll continue to make changes at the high school, which will include new security cameras.
Students at Pelham Middle School are kicking off the year with a new principal.
Kimberly Nesmith has been named for the role.
She’s been serving in the district for the last 18 years and was the director of teaching and learning for the past 10 years.
Nesmith said her big focus will be on academic achievement and pushing positive learning environments.
She said she wants to make a great influence, especially having a middle school student herself.
“So I’m very passionate about our middle school students. And as they transition and identify who they are during this critical time in their lives. So it was very important for me to be that positive role model and provide a fun learning environment for our students," Nesmith said.
The school’s new motto for the year is “Think, Speak, Act Positively”.
Nesmith said they want to show students how to build great relationships with their teachers and outside community.
Police officers will be more visible around schools in Pelham this year.
Pelham City Schools Charter System leaders said it’s all for good reasons — it’s all about one on one interaction.
Fort said if students see officers on a daily basis, they’re less likely to be afraid of them.
The superintendent said Pelham police officers will visit each school unannounced each day.
Officers will rotate from Pelham Elementary, Middle, and High School.
Police will talk with students and teachers about their individuals lives and their safety.
It's all to build relationships that will carry outside the classroom.
Fort said with all of the shootings across the country, this partnership will be very vital.
“They come in and out of our schools on an unannounced visit. They talk with our students. They talk with our teachers. They build relationships. So we believe that’s going to be a key factor in improving the safety of our school system,” said Fort.
The Pelham Police Department will also provide campus security during school hours.
Police Chief Nealie McCormick said they’re planning an interactive program for students.
Students will be able to act as officers to get a better understanding of their duties each day.
That event is scheduled for sometime in October.