WILSON COUNTY, Tenn. (WKRN) — In light of school mass shootings nationwide, to here at home, dads and father figures are stepping up to be an extra set of eyes and ears in Wilson County.
It’s called The Hallway Hero Project. The organizer started it at West Elementary School a few weeks ago.
“There’s always that one chance of a door not catching or one of the students accidentally letting somebody in,” said David Kempton, the Hallway Hero Project organizer.
“Anything that we can do to increase our safety because we take that very seriously and safety is our first priority, we are closing in on 900 students here at West,” said Dr. Alex Juneau, principal at West Elementary.
Those students are all looked after by School Resource Officer Caroline Keyes. In order to help out, Kempton brought the project forward.
“Especially after you hear news of a national shooting or The Covenant School, my wife and I had talked about what do we do the next day. Do we send them back to school? Do we keep them at home,” Kempton said.
While these volunteers are unarmed, they have a long list of duties—from roaming the halls and double-checking doors to observing during lunch and recess.
“They are aware that everyone should come to the front door, so if they see anyone that looks suspicious going through different doors they are on top of it as well,” said Keyes.
Kempton said this is also a chance to give back and spend a little extra time with his kids.
“We get a lot of people saying ‘thank you, thank you, thank you’ while we appreciate it, we want it to be normal and not a surprise that dads are coming in and volunteering their time,” Kempton said.
According to Kempton, the program currently has around eight volunteers.
Each volunteer has to go through a full background check and is typically a parent or grandparent of West Elementary students.
Kempton said the goal is to be fully operational in the fall and to expand beyond Wilson County in the coming years.