TOOMBS COUNTY, GA (WTOC) - Toombs County Schools are adding additional security features to all their schools this week.
They aren’t just talking about more locks on doors. When parents and visitors go to a Toombs County school, they will see a new camera and button at the front door. When they walk up, they can hit the button and it will buzz the office staff.
Once the visitor presses the button, they pop up on a screen inside the office so staff can speak with them directly and see who is at the door.
“Our parents and our community trust us with 3,000 students every day, and with those students, we are there to educate them, but at the same time, our students and our staff - the number one priority is to keep them safe,” said Barry Waller, Superintendent, Toombs County Schools.
Waller says when the buildings were built years ago, safety wasn’t a top priority at the time, Now, he says it is their top priority, especially in the older buildings. With safety grants, the schools have been able to add the new technology.
“By having this in place, it gives us another layer of security by being able to stop visitors at the door and inquire about why they are here and being able to verify their identity and things such as that,” said Dr. Renee Garbutt, Toombs County Middle School.
Each Toombs County School now has the added features except the high school. Waller says that building was built four years ago and already has safety features in place. He says besides the new technology, they are going even further. They are adding security walls in the front lobbies of the school to initially keep visitors in the office area.
“It’s a scary world that we live in, and it’s sad to say that in the 21st Century, this is what it’s come to, but we are just so glad that we are able to come up to technology in the 21st Century so we can put this in place so the kids know they are safe when they come here,” said school counselor, Lagail Wright.
Staff says they know some parents may think the features are inconvenient, but they are trying to make it easy for parents and also keep the schools safe.
“At the end of the day, we want to protect our students, and who can argue with that?”
“We all know kids can’t focus on their academics if they don’t feel safe, so we want to make sure that went a kid enters this building, they have nothing to worry about, so they know we are doing everything we can to protect them,” said Tabatha Nobles, Principal, Lyons Upper Elementary School.
The schools will begin using the new camera security systems Wednesday morning.