Carthage School District levels up on student safety

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“One of the requirements when you’re hired by the Carthage School District is you have to go through a background check,” explained Holley Goodnight with the Carthage Tech Center.

That means Goodnight was fingerprinted–which wasn’t a surprise.

“Anybody who goes into education knows that’s an expectation,” Goodnight added.

Now, state law is extending background checks on adults who volunteer one-on-one with kids. House Bill 604 will take effect next week, ensuring a criminal background check for school volunteers.

Fingerprinting is new for Carthage, but it doesn’t stand alone.

“Volunteers have always filled out an application,” said Assistant Superintendent Gregg Wolf. “And then, the principals would go look at the sex offenders list to see if they were on that and if they weren’t, they were good to volunteer.”

Adding the fingerprint requirement is just part of an overall safety plan approved by the Carthage School Board. It addresses everything from tornado drills to building security like controlled access.

“All of our new buildings have swipe cards and key pads to get in,” Wolf continued.

District construction means more and more schools have that technology to protect students.

“Our older buildings such as this, they’re not on any of the classroom doors–just on the exterior doors,” Wolf explaine. “But on all our new buildings we’re doing, we’re putting them on the interior doors as well.”

Security cameras are on the list as well, and Carthage schools already have about 650 of those. However, they could be adding more in the future.

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