Houston County Schools Install Secure Vestibules

9:06 AM, Oct 19, 2012   |    comments
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Five Houston County schools now have an added layer of security, and a dozen more are about to get the upgrade.

Money from the education penny sales tax paid for secure vestibules that help keep students in and strangers out.

Director of facilities Jason Daniel said three middle schools and two elementary schools received the first vestibules. 12 elementary schools are next on the list.

It was fun and games during gym class at Perry Middle School Thursday, but Tuesday morning Principal Thomas Moore says they were all business.

Moore said, "As the kids came to campus that morning, we immediately put them in homeroom on an abbreviated lockdown, trying to get all the kids in the building."

A police chase for two armed suspects outside forced the lockdown.

Moore says a just-added vestibule helped secure the building.

He said, "It forces folks when the come in, to come in the office before they go any further in the building."

He explained how it works saying, "Whenever somebody comes into the building, they'll come in the door. And then, they'll come in here. All these doors are locked. There's no way to get in the school here. You cannot do it. The only way to go is through this door here, which opens into the office."

Mother of two children at the school, Regina Webb, says it's a vast improvement over the easy entrance into the heart of the building seen in years past.

Webb said, "Oh my God, I'm glad, I'm glad. I think they're safe the way this is."

She says you never know what can happen when you drop your children off at school. Safety concerns like Tuesday's lockdown are bound to happen.

Webb said, "You just never know and need to be cautious."

It puts her mind at ease to know there's one more security feature in place.

Daniel said the cost of the first phase of vestibules came to $174,498. The cost of the second phase has not been determined, he said. The work is scheduled to start in February and be complete by August 2013.

In addition to that security measure, the system is also in the process of installing wiring, so more cameras can be added at school campuses. All schools will be receiving additional security cameras.

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