MACON, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) – When parents in Bibb County drop their kids off for the first day of school Monday morning, officials will be watching closely and guarding the doors.
"We do place a high priority on our safety programs and safety infrastructure," said David Gowan, Bibb County Schools Risk Management Director.
A new buzzer system will be installed at all entrances of the school, allowing faculty and staff to monitor inside and out. The nearly $600,000 upgrade requires all visitors to be buzzed in by the front office. From there, the secretary checks for identification before issuing a visitors pass.
"We do of course want our parents to visit our building and other visitors," Gowan said, "We want to monitor that and make sure they check in with the office."
The buzzer system is just phase one of the new security and safety plan implemented shortly after a Safe Havens International review. By next year, the maintenance department will install peep holes, alarm systems and card readers at all elementary schools in the county. With the new plan in place, by 2018, every school entrance in Bibb County will be fully wired, it's a $6 million dollar investment in school safety. The board approved to fund phase one using the Education Special Local Options Sales Tax (E-SPLOST).
In light of Sandy Hook and other school shootings, Gowan said no measure is too big when it comes to saving lives.
"We do take notes of those incidents," he said, "because there are lessons that can be learned from those tragic situations."