School boards apply for $21M grant to enhance security at Caddo-Bossier schools

Both Caddo Parish and Bossier Parish school boards applied for the grant, however, neither have been approved yet.
Published: May. 2, 2023 at 6:45 PM CDT
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CADDO PARISH, La. (KSLA) - Caddo Parish and Bossier Parish School boards applied for a $21 million grant that would strengthen school security.

School security has been a topic of concern with the increased numbers of mass shootings, threats and accessibility to handguns. The overall safety of students, while attending school, has become the top priority for school districts across the United States. For some district funding to increase, though, security measures have limited what can be done. Now the Louisiana Department of Education has opened enrollment to support these efforts.

The Louisiana Department of Education closed the application for the $21 million school security grant on April 3. Both Caddo Parish and Bossier Parish school boards applied for the grant, however, neither have been approved yet.

“We’re looking for any ways to receive monies to help harden our targets, which are our schools,” Don Gibbs, the director of security of Caddo Parish School Board, said.

“Hopefully, it’ll go through we’re excited about it. It will fulfill many needs that we have in bossier parish,” Captain Adam Johnson, the director of security of Bossier Parish School Board.

After KSLA spoke with both directors of security, it appeared the campuses have similar needs. Gibbs says the designs of all of the schools in his district date back to the 1980′s and were built with the community in mind and easily accessible for parents, but now the need is just the opposite.

“So, what we’re trying to do is make sure we get those monies and those things done as soon as possible so that we can harden our targets. Our schools will not be vulnerable for people to just walk up and be on those campuses, so we’re going to use those monies for that, as well as for the camera systems,” Gibbs explained. We’re in the process of trying to get real time camera systems, so when first responders have to come on our campuses, they can see the threat and identify the threat immediately.

All high schools in Caddo Parish have metal detectors. School officials would like to add more metal detectors to all middle schools and potentially all elementary school if the funds allow.

Johnson’s campuses in Bossier parish share similar outdated floor plans that he says date back to the 1960′s.

“We’re trying to make it to where we have single point of access to our schools. Many of our campus footprints have multiple buildings like I said,” Johnson said. “With that being said, you can more closely monitor the people that can access that facility. There is a lot of technology now a days involved with access control of our schools.”

If they are proved, both school districts have a plan in place to make the schools in their district a safer place for students to learn.