PERRY COUNTY, Tenn. (WKRN) — A grassroots fundraising effort to ensure the safety of students in schools is taking off in Perry County. 

Sheriff Nick Weems enhanced his “Not Our Children” campaign following the Uvalde massacre. The community stepped up, donating more than $20,000 to enhance school security with more training, education and prevention methods.

While not disclosing all of the safety measures to come, the sheriff told News 2 the money will
pay for gun vaults for each school so SROs can have rifles if needed. Perry County Schools Director Eric Lomax says they’ve already begun installation. 

“If you have an active shooter, they are coming in with automatic weapons so it’s apples to apples, if they are able to try to neutralize the situation if they have the same type of weapons that are coming into the building,” he explained. 

The donated money also goes to upgraded body armor for deputies and providing trauma kits for each classroom. 

The latest efforts follow the sheriff’s campaign that paid for Nightlock door stops for every classroom in the county a few years ago. 

“It’s like an onion — you’ve got layers of security,” said Lomax. 

Those layers of security start outside the locked school doors with a camera. Inside each school, you will find the classroom doors locked and an armed SRO. The director of schools says the SWAT team and SROs train regularly on school grounds. They also have a contract with a K-9 service that makes monthly unannounced visits to the schools in search of weapons and drugs. Lomax says their efforts to upgrade school safety are an ongoing and top priority. 

The small town is hoping to lead by example to keep tragedies like Uvalde from reoccurring. 

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“It just brings tears to your eyes to know what those families are going through, to just think of how it could just scar a community like that. I hope we never have to deal with anything like that here in our county, it’s just heartbreaking.”