By Shawn Kirkpatrick
Opelika Observer

The focus of the Lee County Board of Education meeting Tuesday night was the safety of students while at school.
Several parents voiced their concerns to the board during the meeting about student’s safety since the deadly shooting at a high school in Parkland, Florida, last month. Parents said they just want their voices to be heard, as well as their ideas.
“Our front entrance (East Smiths Station Elementary), basically you press a button and the secretary inthe office buzzes you in and then you have free reign at that point. There is nothing blocking you from going any further,” said Stephanie Woods, parent. “I volunteer at the school, I’m there a lot. I see the amount of people that come in and out, and in and out, and in and out. The idea that someone can just buzz a door and they can go from there it’s a scary thought these days.”
Scott Billingslea started a Facebook page for parents in Lee County after the Parkland shooting and the lockdown at the high school where his wife works. “After the events last month in Florida and the lockdown at Smiths Station High School, it was told to us there would be a meeting with parents. So I am here to formally request that meeting,” Billingslea told board members. “We’d like to have an open dialogue. We’d like to be proactive to have solutions, not complaints.”
Lee County Schools Superintendent James “Mac” McCoy told the parents he is working with Sherriff Jay Jones and the schools to come up with a date for a forum. “I appreciate your positive attitude. Being proactive is the best way. Hopefully we can all work together to keep our students and children safe.”
In other business, the board:
– approved to award a bid to the lowest bidder for The Beauregard Project Rebid, first team accepting alternate 1 and 2 for a construction cost of $21,635,000.
-authorizes superintendent or designee to negotiate with vendors from the state bid list for purchase of items not included in original bid.
-approved the upcoming 58 question survey for each board members to evaluate Superintendent James “Mac” McCoy.
-approved out of state/overnight field trips:
-Beulah Elementary 6th Graders National Infantry Museum 3/21 Ft. Benning, GA
-Beulah High Jr. Beta Club Georgia Aquarium 5/4, Atlanta, GA
-Beulah High FBLA State Conference 4/12-13, Birmingham, AL
-Sanford 7th Graders National Infantry Museum 5/11 Ft. Benning, GA
-Sanford Theatre Class Bill — Heard Theater – RiverCenter 3/16 Columbus, GA
-West SSES Junior Beta Club 2018 Alabama Junior Beta Club Convention 3/22-23, Birmingham
-West SSES 5th Graders POW Camp at Andersonville 4/3-4/4 Andersonville, GA
-Smiths Station High JV Soccer Game at Shaw 4/11, Columbus, GA
-Smiths Station High Art Club Columbus Art Museum 3/14, Columbus, GA
-Smiths Station High JROTC JROTC Raider Challenge Competition 4/21, Harris County, GA
-Smiths Station High Leadership Class Touring Chick-Fil- A Corporate Office 4/17, Atlanta, GA
-Smiths Station High Beta Club Beta Club Convention 4/4-6 Birmingham, AL
-Beauregard High Key Club Alabama District Convention 3/9-11 Montgomery, AL
-Beauregard High FBLA State Conference 4/12-13 Birmingham, AL
-South SSES 1st Graders Wild Animal Safari 4/13 Pine Mountain, GA
-Beauregard Elementary Pre-K Students Disney On Ice 3/2 Columbus, GA
-Beauregard Elementary 1st Graders Callaway Gardens 4/24-26 Pine Mountain, GA.