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Company focuses on school security

May 28, 1999|By MARLO BARNHART

Like the rest of the nation, Lynn Bibbee was horrified last month by the slayings at a Littleton, Colo., high school.

But Bibbee shrugged off her initial feelings of helplessness and went into action in her capacity as community involvement coordinator for Sam's Club on Wesel Boulevard.

The company's goal is to put security cameras in every high school in Washington County. To that end, Hagerstown Sam's Club has launched a fund drive to raise at least $5,000.

On Monday, the company began selling tickets for drawings with shopping sprees as prizes. "We're selling tickets for $300 and $200 shopping sprees at $1 per ticket or six for $5," Bibbee said.

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She is hoping to raise at least $5,000 because if that happens, the Sam's Club home office will match that with another $5,000, Bibbee said.

Nationally, the company already has donated more than $100,000 to support efforts to make schools safer.

"Now I've had a call from the Roy Rogers Restaurant pledging help," Bibbee said.

On a date to be set up later, Sam's Club employees would help serve food at Roy Rogers. The restaurant then would donate 20 percent of whatever money is taken in during that period, Bibbee said.

She hopes more businesses in the area will come up with similar ideas for raising money for the program.

Some businesses and service agencies also are donating money outright to the effort.

Some companies are donating a certain amount and challenging others to beat that sum.

Bibbee said the surveillance units include several cameras that can be set up at various locations around each high school in the county.

"They each have a recorder, a monitor and four cameras, and even if the power is cut, there is a battery backup," Bibbee said.

The Washington County Board of Education has been contacted about the project.

"We are being cooperative but Sam's Club came up with the idea," said School Superintendent Herman Bartlett, who said he will be taking it to the school board.

He said he believes the cameras in the schools will show that everything is being done to make schools safe.

School officials will decide which schools will get the security cameras in the event that not enough money is raised to cover all eight high schools, Bibbee said.

If more money comes in than expected, then camera units will be purchased for middle schools, Bibbee said.

"School is meant to be a place of learning, and our children shouldn't have to worry about their safety," Bibbee said.

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