New school entrance security technology demonstrated at Pepperell Elementary
Advanced entrance security is part of EdSPLOST
Posted on 10/29/2013
Security Demo at PES

Schools across the country are taking a new look at school security after the tragedy at Newtown last year.  The issue came even closer to home for Floyd County with news reports of an armed intruder at McNair Elementary in DeKalb County just a few months ago.  To make children safer in our schools, Floyd County Schools demonstrated a new entrance security system last week that will help to control who comes and goes from our schools during the school day and connect emergency responders in case of an emergency.  The security system is being installed at Pepperell Elementary School as a pilot.  This is the first step in a plan to upgrade entrance security at all schools in the Floyd County system.  The new entrance security is part of the proposed Education SPLOST package to be voted by the community on Tuesday.  

Not only will the security system better control who is allowed to enter the building, but it is connected to 911, the county police, school safety resource officers and school system administration.  The system will instantly provide vital security information to first responders to allow them to know details of the emergency in real time as they are responding.  “With this system, we will have the ability to connect everyone with instant, necessary information that will save lives in the event of an emergency situation in our schools,” stated Sam Sprewell, chief of operations for Floyd County Schools. “Emergency responders and school personnel will all be on the same page as we respond to a school in need.”

The security system has a camera at the entrance of the school to allow someone in the office to see who is requesting to enter.  Office personnel monitoring the system can deny entry to a potential intruder and simultaneously lock down all doors to the school and send an alert to 911 and emergency responders.  The emergency responders, school administration and system administration will instantly have access to status reports from every room in the school to determine where to focus response efforts.  Teachers will have the ability to indicate the safety status of their class from their room computer or a mobile device.  Responders and administration will be able to view the status of each room on a cell phone or any Internet connected device. “This will be another line of defense we have of keeping kids safe,” commented Ray Stock, school resource officer in the Model area. “The system will convey to school resource officers and responding police units what is going on at the school.”  Marcus Roberts, resource officer for Pepperell area schools, added, ”It would be nice to know the situation we are facing before we arrive on the scene.

The system will also be valuable in the event of any type of emergency at the school from an allergic reaction to a bee sting in a single classroom to a severe weather alert impacting the entire school.  Each teacher will be able to communicate instantly with the office or those needing to respond to help children in an emergency situation.  “We designed this system to work with existing technology – intercoms, emergency radios, security cameras, the Internet, email, computers and mobile devices,” Wayne Henley of Richardson Technology Systems stated during the demonstration. “Not only does the system provide information to responders but emergency personnel will be able to send electronic directions to teachers in locked down rooms or those with emergencies to help them cope with the situations or get their class to a safe area.”        

School safety is important to parents in the community.  That is why the parents charged with determining school facility needs for the next five years included entrance security upgrades in the plan the group presented to the Floyd County Board of Education this past summer.  The group recommended the board adopt the plan that included security upgrades, technology improvements and construction of a new Coosa High School and to seek renewal of the Education SPLOST to fund the improvements.  The board approved the recommendations and scheduled an Education SPLOST be put before county voters next Tuesday.