There is a new feature at Highlands School where visitors must be buzzed into the building via a video intercom system. There are two other doors with code card doors, cameras throughout the school and the rest of the doors are locked.
“We did this in response to emergencies all over the country,” said Highlands School Principal Brian Jetter. “We have an old school that was built before security cameras. Now we have many, but we wanted to increase the safety for the kids with this new system.”
Highlands Police Chief Bill Harrell said having a system in place using an intercom and a video screen allows school staff to monitor everyone who enters the main building.
“It increases the safety for all of the students and faculty,” said Harrell. “Unfortunately, terrible things are happening in society and measures must be taken.”
School Resource Officer Tim Broughton said having all the doors secured and the front door used as the main entry point, makes it much easier to monitor who comes and goes throughout the day.
“It allows us to see that someone is coming, who they’re here to see, when they arrive and when they leave,” said Broughton. “It’s great keeping the kids safe, and its easier keep an eye on one point than several different points.”
But a video entryway is not the last improvement in the works regarding security at Highlands School. Jetter said discussions have been ongoing to install fences around the perimeter of the School’s campus. Jetter added that he walked the grounds of the school with Superintendent of Macon County Schools Chris Baldwin to form a strategy of covering the perimeter with fences, but not preventing students from getting where they need to be.
“We have three different buildings that kids go in and out of all day,” said Jetter. “I walked the property with the Superintendent to see if we could do more. We want to protect the perimeter without impeding the movement of students.”
He added that the issue has been discussed by the district’s leadership and the funding is in place, no firm dates have been set for the installation of fences.
Article and photos by Brian O’Shea
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