New security system allows teachers to lock doors in McDuffie County

Published: Aug. 5, 2022 at 11:35 PM EDT
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THOMSON, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - At any point, McDuffie County teachers can lock the doors to protect their students with a new security system.

All seven schools in the district use Centegix. Teachers download the app onto their phones and press a button on their lanyard the second there’s danger.

The McDuffie County School System got a safety grant allowing them to install a security system that can shut down the school and the entire district within five seconds of the threat.

“In medical emergencies and safety situations… seconds matter,” said Superintendent Mychele Rhodes.

Safety is the top priority, which is why they installed Centegix. It provides immediate assistance in emergencies.

“We use Centegix for several different situations. If there is a student disturbance, Centegix is used if there is a medical emergency, and if there were intruders on campus or an exterior threat,” said Rhodes.

It has already been used during the first five days of school.

“We did have a medical emergency this week. We were able to quickly route the ambulance on the campus because we knew where the badge was located and where the emergency was taking place,” he said.

That help is close at hand. Every faculty and staff member wears a badge with an emergency button.

“When this active emergency comes up both on the computer and phone, we see that badge in almost like a heartbeat,” said Rhodes.

Administrators can use the system through an app as well. They have drills throughout the school year, so students know exactly what to do.

Principal of Dearing Elementary Stacey Amerson said: “When the staff initiates a staff alert, it comes right to my phone to my assistance principles phone, school resource officer, Dr. Rhodes’ phone, as well as our desktops.”

There are staff alerts, shelter and tornado, evacuation alerts, and lockdowns. Ranging from level one to three depending on the severity.

“If we go into that level three lockdown, it immediately notifies 911, and we have dispatched emergency responders to our building,” she said.

Once the lockdown is in effect, parents are notified too

“As a parent with the Centegix combined with the one-call notification system, it’s very reassuring that we have those things in our district and are able to provide a safe and secure environment for our students,” said Amerson.

On top of Centegix the school system also has ongoing checks of every door on each campus. Along with school resource officers who rotate to check the doors and extensive camera systems that someone’s always watching.

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