On Thursday, September 22, 2022, Charlotte Smith emailed Bladen County Schools regarding questions from the public. Maintenance and safety was the topic of the questions submitted.
Concern #1 – HVAC issues at East Bladen High School and Elizabethtown Middle School.
In an email sent today, Ms. Elly Johnson with Bladen County Schools stated, “The air conditioning unit on the 5th-grade hall at Elizabethtown Middle School was replaced last week. While a new unit was ordered nearly a year ago (October 14, 2021), due to production delays the unit did not arrive until the week of September 19 and was installed. While we waited for the delivery of the new unit, there was a temporary fix in place on the previous one.”
This week, the district also approved air purification systems for each high school and middle school to be installed by mid-November. Alan West, a Board of Education member, requested purification systems for the locker rooms during the September meeting reminding the board they had approved the work “years ago.”
West said, “It was needed, and with all the kids in the confined spaces of the locker rooms, we needed something to purify the air.”
Concern #2 – The doors at East Bladen do not unlock with the buzzer. According to Johnson, the issue with the doors was resolved.
Concern #3 – Soap dispensers have not worked properly in the bathrooms in some schools for years.
Johnson responded, “We frequently replace soap dispensers that are destroyed by students. Additionally, we have started the process of transitioning to hands-free soap dispensers.”
Concern #4 – The public asked for progress on the safety plan the consulting company and the Sheriff’s Office suggested to Bladen County Schools. Also, the people wanted to ensure alarms were tested on a regular basis at each school.
Johnson’s reply, “For the safety of our students and staff, our school safety plans are confidential so I cannot disclose specifics. However, we have reviewed the recommendations and after thoughtful consideration, some changes have been implemented. The safety of our students and staff is always a top priority and we continue to evaluate our plans and processes.”
She added, “As required by law, our fire alarms are tested annually.”