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Posted: August 09, 2017

Latest move in school safety? A panic button

WSBTV.com
One Georgia county has installed emergency buttons in all of its schools. 

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By Tyisha Fernandes, WSBTV.com

GWINNETT COUNTY, Ga. —

Getting police and first responders to help students and staff is now more efficient than ever in one Georgia school district.

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Schools in Gwinnett County, Georgia, are now equipped with panic buttons and safety protocol.

Parents told WSB-TV they are on board with the new system.

“Maybe quicker response and quicker timing would save lives,” parent Stece Condra said.

Condra is the parent of a student at Peachtree Ridge High School in Suwanee, Georgia.

He is learning about the new emergency notification buttons that have been installed in each Gwinnett County public school.

Condra said he is glad school officials are being proactive.

“Hopefully they put it in and never have to use it. That's the best bet,” Condra said.

Officials started to put the program in place two years ago, beginning with panic buttons installed in elementary schools.

Now they're in every school in the district, just in time for the first week of school.

School resource officers like Joe Barnes at Peachtree Ridge High School will now have immediate backup if an intruder gets in.

“To know that help is on the way as soon as someone presses that button is a nice feeling,” Barnes said.

The system puts the school on immediate lockdown and sends alerts to school police dispatch and the county's 911 center.

It is all in real-time because dispatchers will be looking at live camera feeds.

“The school staff is being trained to push it when there is a life-threatening emergency, such as an active shooter,” Barnes said.

The security measure is a significant topic of discussion as school officials across the country consider the best ways to keep students safe. According to a Feb. 2016 ABC News report, each week, on average, one shooting took place on a school or college campus in 2015. The report showed a total of 270 shootings of any kind at a school between April 1999, when the infamous Columbine shooting occurred, and February 2016.


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