Door locks and security cameras in working order? Check.
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Staff writer Wayne Washington contributed to this article.
Examples of metro school safety efforts
Cobb County School District has a public safety department with 44 employees and a $3.3 million budget.
School resource officers: At least one officer in each of the district’s 16 high schools. Campbell, McEachern, Osborne, Pebblebrook, South Cobb and North Cobb high schools each have two officers. Thirteen officers cover 25 middle schools. Eight middle schools have a dedicated officer. Five officers cover the remaining 17 middle schools. Five at-large officers have specialized roles, dealing with gangs, drugs, K-9 dogs and investigations.
Specific safety precautions: Badge access is required at all external doors. Elementary schools have buzz-in system on the main front door.
Life after Sandy Hook: Buzz-in system expanded to include all elementary schools at a cost of $900,000.
Gwinnett County Public Schools, the state’s largest school district, is devoting $4.6 million and 46 employees this year to school safety. The department has 28 at present but is in the process of adding 18.
School resource officers: By year’s end, the district will go from having one school resource officer per school cluster to two (18 new in total).
Specific security precautions: All school visitors are greeted by a staff member and go through a check-in process.
Life after Sandy Hook: A task force was formed to look at the district’s safety programs and procedures. The task force recommended and the school board approved 18 more employees in school safety to increase the school resource officers from one to two per cluster.
Cherokee County School District has 13 employees and $1.05 million dedicated to school security.
School resources officers: 11 certified officers each have oversight over security at more than one school, including high, middle and elementary schools.
Specific security precautions: School visits must show photo I.D., have a verifiable reason to be on campus and receive a school visitor’s badge before going beyond the front office.
Life after Sandy Hook: An ad hoc safety and security committee was established. Two changes will occur as a result — including by Labor Day, 13 elementary schools will be getting security cameras installed so that all elementary schools will have security cameras. Digital backup capability for intrusion and fire systems will be installed at 20 schools and facilities by the end of December. Staff members are reviewing how to integrate a proposed distress and panic alarm system with existing technology and communications systems.
Source: Gwinnett, Cobb and Cherokee school districts and the Georgia Emergency Management Agency. Compiled by staff writers Nancy Badertscher and Daarel Burnette.