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7.28.22 – WMAZ – Houston County, GA

Houston County School District installed about $1.7 million worth of new alarm systems in schools.

Something is coming to your child’s school if you live in the Houston County School District. The school district installed panic alarms in all the schools. It’s been in the works for over a year with three schools being used as pilots last year. It cost around $1.7 million to install the alarms in all the schools. Walter Stephens, the district’s executive director of operations, calls it a game changer for safety.

“There was no underlining motive in terms of why we installed this or why we really started looking at this. We know that when our staff and students feel comfortable and safe when they come into our facility, we know that learning is going to excel, we know that student achievement is going to be high”

Tabitha Patterson is sending her daughter, Skylar, to Langston Road elementary to start kindergarten. Her mom says she wants her daughter to be safe and she’s pleased with the schools new panic alarm system.

“It’s amazing feel just because of all the school shootings that are happening right now, I want to make sure that she’s super protected, and I know I don’t have to worry especially with Houston County,” Patterson said.

Patterson told 13WMAZ, Skylar has autism. With the recent reports of school shootings in the country, she is worried about her daughters safety.

“I don’t want her to ever be afraid and if she’s by herself, you don’t know what’s going to go on in their mind, and I want to make sure she’s safe when she goes to school and walks into school,” Patterson said.

Mossy Creek was one of the three Houston schools that piloted the panic alarms last school year. Seventh grade language arts teacher, Natalie Rainwater, says the device puts help at her fingertips.

“It works on our whole campus from one fence to the other fence and we’re allowed to use it anytime we need to.”

When a teacher is having a situation, they will click a button on the device and it will alert administrators where the teacher is and the severity of the situation depending on the color of the alarm. A serious emergency will go to red and advise a lockdown. Rainwater says the students know about the alarms and the color codes.

“Our students are very well versed in what each of these mean. They taught from the very beginning of the school year what each of the color means and what our protocols are for that, so this is just an extra system in place for something they already know,” Rainwater said