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School system takes proactive approach to security
by Adam Elrod
September 04, 2013 09:05 AM | 3151 views | 0 0 comments | 25 25 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Dallas Elementary principal Blake Keown stands outside the new security vestibule added to the front entrance of the school during renovations this summer.
Dallas Elementary principal Blake Keown stands outside the new security vestibule added to the front entrance of the school during renovations this summer.
Despite multiple gun safety issues recently in metro Atlanta schools, Paulding County School District officials feel they have been proactive in efforts to protect the system’s students, faculty and staff.

School Board Vice Chairman Kim Curl said, “Security is our top priority.”

Over the summer break the district built security vestibules at three schools, Union and Dallas elementary schools and East Paulding High School.

The vestibules will route all visitors to the front office before they can enter the remainder of the school building.

Superintendent Cliff Cole said, “We are in a process in developing a plan to install them in the other 19 schools.”

With the school board’s approval they plan to install them by next year, he said.

The cost for each vestibule is between $15,000 and $20,000, which could be funded with special purpose local option sales tax proceeds or through the maintenance budget.

“The cost is going to be different with every school,” Cole said.

Curl said the board needs to make room in the budget for construction of the security features – which he noted must be built when students are not in school.

To combat the issue of someone entering a school with a firearm, the district has a resource officer at each high school and about seven other officers who rotate between the middle schools.

“We have a great relationship with our sheriff’s department,” Cole said. The sheriff’s department has each school’s building plans on file to be able to navigate the school in case of emergency.

In addition, the district has been conducting emergency intruder training drills for about 10 years. They have included active shooter drills -- when a shooter has a hostage -- and passive shooter drills -- when a shooter is roaming a school, said Associate Superintendent Brian Otott.

The district also submits plans to the Georgia Emergency Management Agency for its approval.

The district office operates a command center to monitor any situation through school security cameras and they are able to stay in contact with local law enforcement.

The newest safety measure is the visitor identification system Keep N Track from COMPanion Corp. This will require all visitors seeking to enter a school to scan a government identification, such as a driver’s license.

The system keeps a log of building visitors and compares the scanned information with the national database of registered sex offenders to alert school officials of their presence.

However, there has not been a date set on when this system will go into operation, said Don Breedlove, executive director for safety and athletics.

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