Fact Checker

You asked

Does the district have officers in elementary schools?

Yes. Lexington County School District One is committed to the safety and well-being of all our students and works closely with the Lexington County Sheriff’s Department, the Town of Lexington Police Department and the Town of Pelion Police to provide a police presence for several hours each day and to address our schools’ safety needs.

Elementary school children see officers as the children come in and out of school at pickup and dismissal times, while they are at recess and even just when they are in the halls and classrooms.

Graduation —— Does Lexington One designate valedictorians?

It is Lexington County School District One’s practice not to select a valedictorian or salutatorian at any of its high schools. That practice has been in effect for more than 20 years.

In fact, each year, information about that practice is published in the Student Handbook as follows.

Honor Graduates

No high school in Lexington One selects a class valedictorian or salutatorian. They do, however, recognize their honor graduates.

To be recognized as an honor graduate, seniors must rank in the top 10 percent of their graduating class or earn a final GPA of 4.0 or higher on the South Carolina Uniform Grading Scale.

Graduation —— Is it true that graduates won’t be allowed to wear honor cords, etc.?

No. It is not true. This is just a rumor.

Graduating students will continue the same traditions this year and will recognize their academic accomplishments at this year’s graduation just as they have every year.

They can earn the right to wear a variety of stoles, cords, medallions.

Some examples follow:

  • Students who complete a “major” receive a cord to wear around their neck and over their gown.
  • Centers for Advanced Study completers wear a white stole with the center’s logo on it.
  • Graduates of the district’s International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma Program receive a stole.
  • The district’s high schools recognize honor graduates in a variety of ways. Some give medallions. Some give honor graduate stoles.
  • Graduates of the SC Governor’s School for Science and Mathematics and SC college partners’ Accelerate program wear a medallion.
  • The district’s high schools recognize National Honor Society and/or Beta Club members with seals on diplomas, stoles, etc.
  • And, this year for the first time, students who have enlisted and will go directly into a branch of the military will receive a new military cord.

I keep hearing about “Smart Snacks.” What is that?

The National School Lunch and Breakfast Program establishes standards for school lunches and breakfasts. Lexington One participates in the National School Lunch Program and the School Breakfast program.

Districts participating in those programs are required to comply with a new law, the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010, which required new standards for snack foods and beverages (Smart Snacks in School).

Click here to learn more about it.

Was there a price increase in student meals?

Each Lexington County School District One student breakfast costs $1.25. That price is the same as last year.

Each student lunch costs $2.75.

That is a price increase for elementary students, who paid $2.60 last year. The price is unchanged for middle and high school students.

Your children may qualify for free or reduced price meals. Reduced price meals are $.30 for breakfast and $.40 for lunch.

You can apply for free or reduced price meals by completing a Free and Reduced Meal Price Application Form.

What do you do to keep my child safe?

Lexington County School District One is committed to the safety and well-being of all our students at all times.

In Lexington One administrators and representatives from the Lexington County Sheriff’s Department, the Town of Lexington Police Department and the Town of Pelion Police meet monthly to discuss issues related to school and community safety. We have always worked closely with the Lexington County Sheriff’s Department and its resident deputies, the Town of Lexington Police and the Pelion Police Department to address our school communities’ needs regarding the safety of our schools.

The district has a Director of Safety and Emergency Services, a full-time hearing officer and a district-level safety team.

Every school has a safety team and a detailed school safety plan which parents and other interested individuals are welcome to review and offer suggestions for improvement. We continue to review these plans annually in an effort to eliminate any oversights and to provide continuity throughout our schools.

We have School Resource Officers at all our middle and high schools and at the Lexington Technology Center. We have officers in elementary schools for several hours each day. Those hours are deliberately rotated during the week and not at the same time of day each day.

However, our schools are just like the rest of the world. From time to time, something out of the ordinary happens — a student brings a weapon or drugs to school or a student threatens himself or another individual.

For that reason, each school has a comprehensive visitor check-in and check-out system located at the front desk in all schools designed to help ensure that no unauthorized person enters. This system runs an automated check on each visitor against a list of registered sex offenders every time he or she visits. Each visitor must check in and out when in a school, regardless of the time of day.

All visitors and volunteers must wear their name badges in plain sight at all times while on school grounds or at school-related events or activities. (Visitors are not asked, however, to check in and out using this system during large evening PTA/PTO meetings, school plays, programs, athletic events, etc.)

Schools lock exterior doors that do not have to remain unlocked and limit the number of access points. All schools’ front entrances are secure entrances. When someone enters a school with a secure entrance, that person must go through the school’s front office and is unable to enter the school without going through that office.

We have telephones in every classroom, including portables.

We have security cameras at each school and on school buses that record not only video but audio.

We have after-school programs or safe havens at most of our elementary schools.

The district’s school counselors and school psychologists use a series of staff development initiatives designed to help staff identify students at risk for violent behavior early and to teach staff appropriate interventions. Each teacher has a written guide to help them recognize early warning signals and tell them the steps to take if they are concerned about a student. They are reminded to stay alert to internal problems, to recognize potential warning signs and to react quickly to a crisis.

Guidance counselors and school psychologists in each school teach teachers how to use this guide.

We remind parents and staff how important it is to maintain open communication with children — about what they are seeing on television, about how they deal with anger and frustration, and about their relationships with other students. If parents feel free to talk with administrators and staff about their children’s problems and budding disputes within the student body, it will go a long way toward defusing tensions within the school.</div><div>We remind students that they have an obligation to themselves and to their classmates to bring information about dangerous situations to adults at the school so that we can respond quickly and appropriately to protect their safety. (The safety and well-being of their friends and classmates are more important than the issue of tattling or “narcing.”)

We remind parents and students that they can help make our schools safer, too, by not passing along the rumors they hear to their neighbors or friends; but, instead, reporting them to a school administrator who will then investigate and turn it over to the police, if necessary.

Our staff, students and parents have several tip lines they can use to report crimes anonymously. The district’s Tip Line telephone number is 803-821-1232 and the Midlands Crimestoppers telephone number is 1-888-274-6372.

What is this Intergovernmental Agreement with the Town of Lexington?

The Town of Lexington is proposing a downtown redevelopment financing package financed by a tax increment financing district (TIF). The TIF would reserve a portion of future tax revenue of the TIF area in the Town of Lexington to be directed towards financing redevelopment in downtown Lexington.

On September 4, 2014, at a special called meeting of the Lexington County School District One Board of Trustees, administrators presented an Intergovernmental Agreement between the district and the Town of Lexington in regards to a TIF for the board’s review. (This proposal will be part of the town’s September 8 public meeting.) The board subsequently approved the Intergovernmental Agreement.

The board and district administrators see this Intergovernmental Agreement as an investment in the area served by the district and, as a result, an investment in the district’s future. The projected improvements should help increase local revenue over time. The district would then benefit from increased revenue.

The Intergovernmental Agreement caps the amount of tax revenue that would be diverted from the district to the town over the life of the TIF to $3.4 million or 15 years, whichever occurs first. In addition, it excludes any tax revenue coming to the district from Act 388, the county school districts local one cent sales tax, and any other debt service millage from the TIF. The district would retain revenue from Act 388, the county school districts local one cent sales tax, and any other debt service millage from the TIF area. All TIF area improvements would provide increased revenue for the district’s debt service.

In addition, for district-sponsored events, students will be able to, at no cost, use the proposed facilities such as the 500-seat amphitheater and a 1.5-mile walking trail around Old Mill Pond.

The Town of Lexington and the district have partnered to meet other needs in the past. For instance, the town contributed to the purchase of security cameras at Lexington Elementary and Lexington Middle schools in 2008–2009. The district and town jointly funded School Resource Officers at Lexington Elementary, Lexington Middle and the district’s alternative learning program, FOCUS.