BLOOMINGDALE, GA (WTOC) - Students at New Hampstead High School feel more needs to be done to make their school safer. Those students said the school doors are wide open for anyone who wants to come in; that's not their only concern.
School system leaders acknowledged New Hampstead doesn't have that buzzer system to let people in the front doors. That means anyone can walk into the front office without being let in. The district said they are actively working on addressing this problem.
Alexandria Shearer and Christopher Washington refuse to sit idly by as another mass shooting rocks our country. Inspired by students in Florida, they're using their voices to stand up for themselves.
"In order to have a positive learning environment and to bring back some sense of humanity, feeling safe where we learn and feeling safe where we grow with our peers is really important," said Shearer, a senior at New Hampstead.
The students want tighter security like locked front doors and more resource officers on campus.
"Anytime there's an altercation, if there's two of them going on, we only really have one officer to handle it. Let alone if there is a violent attack," said Shearer.
The main change they want is a more secure front entrance. New Hampstead is one of the newer schools in Chatham County. A school district spokesperson said a design issue makes it difficult to implement that buzzer system.
"People can just walk straight inside the school straight into the front office. If a school shooting did happen at New Hampstead, they can just walk straight in without any problems," said Washington, also a senior at New Hampstead.
The school system said changes are being made right now. The superintendent sent a letter to administrators this week reminding them of several things to keep schools secure.
Both students are seniors. The changes they want are for those coming behind them.
"I'll still have friends and a sibling I'm leaving at New Hampstead. That way when I leave to go to college, I still want to ensure that they'll be safe," said Washington.
"We know our school. We're there every day. A lot of the employees maybe aren't from the district, and that's fine," Shearer said. "We just want to make sure that it's aware and brought to light that we need more security measures at our school especially because we have one of the highest populations. We need to avoid repeating history. A lot of violence and active shooters have happened over the years. We do have active shooter drills and the fact that we have those is sad to me because, where are we going in our world?"
Both students said the school is making changes in the interim. For the last week, a faculty member has been at the front door checking people as they come in. On the other hand, the school system said they are always looking for ways to make our schools safer.