Accepts nearly $15,000 in Ecolab grants
At their June 8 meeting the Lowndes County School Board heard proposals for security cameras and drug screening and accepted several Ecolab grants.
North Atlantic Security Vice President of Security Stephen Carpenter made a presentation about upgrading security cameras.
“We have been with the district since 2007, when we were a very young company,” Carpenter said. “We are now able to offer some services that we could not back then. In this case, we have partnered with a security company in Canada and can provide a comprehensive camera monitoring system. What the district had to do in the past was come up with the money on the front end to afford the camera system. By the time it was up and running, nine times out of ten technology had already gone to the future and the system was already outdated. We provide something different. We provide a comprehensive monitoring system. We would have someone in our monitoring system who would monitor all the cameras in the school system.
“New Hope and Caledonia have a pretty good system already,” he said. “There are some needs and wants there. But West Lowndes is lacking. West Lowndes High School has analog cameras, which are the first generation of cameras. Some of the cameras are not working, and I’m told they can’t go back and review. There are places in West Lowndes that don’t have coverage. Some of the cameras are pointing at nothing, so they are useless. What I did was a I looked at each campus and tried to assess what the needs are. I worked with principals and IT guys and broke it down. It’s fairly extensive.”
Carpenter also recommended adding cameras to the bus maintenance yard.
“The difference with our system is that we don’t ask for money up front,” he said. “We ask you sign a 36-month contract. Included in the contract is a 24-hour monitoring service. Each principal and superintendent gets an iPad, and they can bring up the cameras on that iPad at any time.”
Carpenter said the project can be 100 percent funded by a Department of Education grant.
“We have found 100 percent funding for this at a zero percent interest rate,” Carpenter said. “We can get an attorney from Jackson to come up and do the paperwork to get this funding. It’s my understanding that the district would pay it back over 15 years. You have a 36-month contract with us, but you’d pay back the money over 15 years.”
The board asked no questions, and took the proposal under advisement.
Jerome Nettles of Advanced Screening Solutions made a pitch for employee and student drug testing.
“We are one of the largest providers of screening in Mississippi,” he said. “Generally when we work with school districts we test faculty, staff and bus drivers, as well as students. Any student enrolled in extracurricular activities or is a volunteer or is allowed to operate a vehicle on campus can be drug tested. This is not a punitive program. This is not designed to punish students. This is a preventative program. This is designed to give students another reason to not do drugs.”
Students are selected randomly, he said.
“The entire goal of this project is to let students know about the real world after high school and college,” Nettles said. “They are going to run into random drug testing. Companies do it during hiring, and they randomly drug and alcohol screen as well. It’s just the world that we live in now.
“We only provide laboratory drug screening,” he said. “There are companies that provide instant on-site screening, but those do not protect the district from liability. The process we use protects the district. If a test is confirmed, it is tested again, and it will stand up in court. What if someone is prescribed a medication? A medical review officer reviews students prescriptions, along with a guardian. They will confirm that the prescription is indeed being taken correctly.”
Results are returned within three business days, he said.
The tests are urine-based, he said. The cost would be less than $23 per test, with a minimum of 30 tests performed per trip.
The board took the proposal under advisement.
The district accepted nearly $15,000 in grants from the Ecolab Visions for Learning program. Seven teachers were awarded grants: Cassie McCool, Elizabeth Lott and Nancy Ray at West Lowndes High School; Deidra Rice and Minnie Williams at West Lowndes Elementary School; and Gina Guess and Jean Hurst at Caledonia Elementary School.0