ALBANY, Ga. (WALB) - Dougherty County school leaders are going to new lengths to make sure your kids are safe.
Employees will now wear a badge, that when pushed, alerts administrators and first responders of any emergency.
With just the push of a button on an employee ID badge, teachers and faculty in the Dougherty County School System can quickly and easily alert first responders in the event of an emergency.
“We program them to be responsive to pushes, to taps.”
The small, white square may not look like much, but the device could actually save lives.
“The camera system on the outside, the locked doors, they don’t really stop people who are already inside the building from doing something,” said Superintendent, Kenneth Dyer.
Now with a few taps of a button, a whole school could be locked down. The Dougherty County School System will use new technology that slips right into their employees’ ID badges. The goal is to communicate with people inside and outside the school.
“They press the button on their ID badge to alert an administrator to come. They press it more times and it will alert first responders. Press the button a few more times, and hold it, it will shut down the entire building if necessary,” Dyer said.
The new security system also turns all of the cameras on in the area. If a student or teacher needs medical attention, or worst-case scenario, an intruder is in the building, everyone who can help will know of the situation immediately.
“I never want to have to make that phone call to a parent to say something happened when I didn’t know we did everything we could to prevent it,” said Dyer.
Teachers and faculty will start using the new technology this upcoming school year.
In other efforts to keep students safe, Dougherty County leaders are focusing on students’ mental health needs this year.
They’re opening the first district-wide mental health clinic at Albany Middle School.
The district already partners with Albany Area Primary Health Care and Aspire.
Now they'll bring those counseling services to the middle school and offer a full clinic.
The goal is to offer a safe space for all district students to seek help and talk to counselors.
“Safety is not just about stopping intruders from coming in, it’s about making sure the students that you have, the faculty and employees that you have, are mentally sound and fit and healthy to go to school and be productive students and employees,” said Dyer.
The clinic will open around the middle of this upcoming school year.
Dougherty County School leaders are excited about reading and the doors it can open up for a child.
And they want you and your kids to be excited about it, too.
To push and promote the importance of literacy, they’re holding a community event this Saturday.
District spokesperson, LaKisha Bryant Bruce, said while they push literacy inside the classroom, but the event allows them to push reading outside of the classroom.
And in fun ways like a dunk tank, school supply drive and food.
“It’s very critical for academic success but it is also critical for success as a person grows and goes into the workforce,” said Bruce.
The district received a state grant to put on the literacy event.
It will be at Albany State University’s west campus on the intramural field.
It’s free and goes from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m.