School Insecurity: Shelby County Schools, Part 1 - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Reported by Jason Miles

School Insecurity: Shelby County Schools, Part 1

Parent Ashley Millington had a typical response as she watched hidden camera video from inside her son's school.

"Oh my gosh," she said.

Millington was looking at video from Chimneyrock Elementary in Cordova, one of six Shelby County Schools into which we sent an undercover Action News 5 staffer.

In the video, our staffer was able to walk right through the front door at Chimneyrock, before heading down a hallway.  There, the video showed a group of children within arm's reach.

"This tells me that no school is safe, and that's scary," Parent Zola Morris said as she watched the video.

Chimneyrock wasn't the only county school we were able to infiltrate.  Our staffer roamed freely in half of the schools we randomly chose.

In video at the new Southwind High School, which is still under construction, our staffer can be seen passing a security officer who only offers directions.  The staffer was able to walk around for awhile before exiting through a completely different door.

It was the same story at Germantown High, which has a large, open campus.  Our staffer walked in and out of a restroom, and up and down a hallway, even after checking in at the office.

Parents who watched the video recognized the fact that our undercover agent could very well have been a pedophile, or someone else, hoping to do harm to a child.

"Somebody should be there to see if an unknown person is walking into the school," parent Megha Patel said.

Employees did just that at three other county schools.  Our staffer failed to get past the office at both Northaven and Bartlett Elementary Schools, and was stopped by a teacher in the hallway of Elmore Park Middle.

That was a 50/50 security success rate at the schools we checked.

In fact, since our interview with Zola Morris, a parent at Chimneyrock, she says the school has improved security and she no longer feels frightened.

In our next report, we'll show you the system in place to better secure Shelby County Schools, and get a response to our investigation.

Click here to send an email to Jason Miles.

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