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Fulton County Schools is committed to providing safe and secure learning environments. The Fulton County School Board makes annual, ongoing investments that provide safety and security to our physical buildings and also has programs in place that focus on the social and emotional well-being of our students and staff. These investments have steadily increased over the years, broadening the services and programs provided to all.
School Police Officers and Safety Personnel
Fulton County Schools has one of the largest school police forces in Georgia. As one of only a few school police departments certified by the Georgia Association of Chiefs of Police, our sworn officers are ready to respond to any situation. A segment of specially trained officers are SWAT certified. The Fulton County School Board and local school leaders also invest in additional non-sworn personnel called Campus Security Associates (CSAs). These personnel assist in securing schools and buildings throughout the district. CSAs receive annual training from the FCS Safety and Security Team and support local school leaders to meet the safety needs of their communities.
Safety Training and Emergency Preparedness
School staff and school leaders receive annual safety training, which includes reviewing active shooter protocols, lockdown procedures and police notifications. District Health Services staff provide AED, CPR, and first aid training, and all clinic staff receive annual training regarding response protocols. Also, each school has a safety plan that is reviewed annually by school leadership and district safety staff and reported to the State of Georgia/Georgia Emergency Management Agency. School Board policy requires all schools to complete specialized safety drills, including those for evacuation, shelter-in-place, soft lockdown, and hard lockdown.
Interior/Exterior Video Surveillance Systems and Bus Cameras
Digital camera systems are in every school, allowing FCS Safety & Security and FCS Police teams to monitor activities in and around facilities with laser sharp accuracy via desktop computers, monitoring stations or mobile devices. High-tech lenses allow school police officers to pan the cameras, zoom in for a closer view, or change the angles of the view – all in high definition quality. In addition, Fulton County Schools is partnering with municipal police agencies so that they have direct access to view school-based cameras and can coordinate a response with FCS Police during potential emergency situations
Also, Flock Safety cameras are installed at all schools and administrative centers. These cameras capture computer-readable images of license plates, allowing law enforcement agencies to compare plate numbers against those of stolen cars or cars driven by people suspected of being involved in criminal activities. The cameras send real-time alerts to law enforcement when a vehicle associated with a wanted suspect or endangered person passes the camera.
All school buses in the Fulton County School System also have upgraded video surveillance systems. Each bus is equipped with four video cameras, which provide surveillance of activities within the buses and can assist safety teams in investigating behaviors that affect student safety.
Improvements and Upgrades on the Horizon
Past capital plans have included high-tech video camera system upgrades in schools and school buses, visitor ID management, safety planning and communication tools, patrol vehicles, and specialized equipment for FCS police officers.
Approved again by Fulton County voters in November 2021, the one-penny sales tax, ESPLOST, is funding Capital Plan 2027. CP 2027 is adding to these investments by replacing or updating safety components nearing the end of their life cycle, such as:
- Automated External Defibrillators
- Door keycard access for school staff
- Integration of door buzzer systems with new video surveillance systems
- Replacement IP cameras for existing video systems
- Updated equipment for school police officers, including ballistic vests and communication radios
- Replacement of emergency vehicles
- Safety and security window film
Front Entry Controls/Visitor Identification Systems
All Fulton County Schools are equipped with front door “buzzer” entry controls. After student arrival all exterior doors are locked, and visitors and students must be granted access by front office personnel. The devices are located at every school entrance and have cameras, intercoms to the front office, and a notification button. Visitors must push the button to ring the front office staff, who can view and question visitors via a video phone, and then determine whether to unlock the door.
Alert Systems and Electronic Emergency Response Protocols
All schools and administrative centers have the Centegix Crisis Alert System installed, which allows teachers and staff to activate an emergency alert using a special wearable badge. Depending on the severity, the alert automatically notifies front office staff of a situation, such a medical issue or a minor student altercation, where a school police officer or an administrator can intervene. In critical emergencies, the system directly alerts the FCS School Police Department and local police agencies to deploy officers and respond immediately.
Additionally, Fulton County Schools uses a tool called CrisisGo to quickly distribute emergency operations plans to staff, via mobile devices, during emergency situations. When a situation is reported, teachers and/or staff members in the affected area will hear a specific tone on their mobile device and then are given instructions to follow via the CrisisGo app, such as how to secure their classroom, account for each student in their care, and what to do next. It also allows them to communicate back to the district’s Safety & Security team and report on their surroundings and any critical needs.
Exit Door Alarms
“Exit door stoppers” are installed on all exterior doors at every school. When a door is not closed securely or is propped open, the school’s security team is alerted. This prevents individuals from entering or leaving the school without authorization.
Visitor Management System
All schools are equipped with a visitor management system. Visitors register in the building at the time of arrival, and their information is checked against state/national sex offender databases.
School Police Fleet and Safety Gear
The FCS School Police has its own vehicle fleet, which not only provides greater visibility of our officers, but also increases their ability to patrol schools and provide emergency response. School police officers also have ballistic vests, communication radios and body cameras as part of their standard police uniform.
Mass Communication/Notification Systems
The school system uses Blackboard as its district-wide emergency communications tool. The tool can be used to notify parents of safety-related situations involving their students in a specific school, a geographic learning zone, or district-wide via phone call or email.
S.H.A.R.E. Tip Line
Safety concerns can be reported anonymously through the district’s S.H.A.R.E. Tip Line. S.H.A.R.E. stands for “See It. Hear It. And Report It Every Time.” All FCS-issued student devices are preloaded with the reporting tool, and the tip line also can be accessed through the FCS website and FCS mobile app. This gives students, staff, parents and the public an easy way to “see something, say something” while remaining anonymous.
Law Enforcement Communications
FCS School Police participates in the nationwide FirstNet public safety broadband and cellular network. AT&T, in a public-private partnership with FirstNet, operates and maintains a highly secure wireless broadband communications network for Georgia’s public safety. With the power of priority and pre-emption, first responders no longer compete with non-emergency users for a connection and can reliably connect to the network for information needed.