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Concerns for school safety addressed
Tattnall County School System Superintendent Gina Williams, Ed.D.
Tattnall County School System Superintendent Gina Williams, Ed.D.

Several individuals in the area, primarily parents, have shared concerns about the safety of the new elementary schools, North Tattnall (NTES) and South Tattnall Elementary School (STES).  

Different from Tattnall County High School, North Tattnall Middle School, and South Tattnall Middle School, these two new elementary schools do not have back doors. In addition, the windows at the new schools cannot be opened from the inside or the outside of the rooms.  

These are the two main issues brought up from parents in the area, reasonably so. School shootings are not abnormal anymore, and it is understandable why people would be concerned about the need for quick exits in the event of a fire. 

Tattnall County Schools Superintendent Gina Williams, Ed.D., wants to ease the nerves of parents. However, as many changes as there are at the new schools, these buildings are certified by the state, and the faculty and staff of all Tattnall schools have taken courses to prepare them for any emergency. She also mentioned that schools are not typically designed with classroom fire doors since they are a hazard themselves as they give intruders numerous points of access to a building.

Typically, the Tattnall County administrators hold meetings with these emergency personnel in the area so that they can talk through emergency situations. The COVID-19 pandemic put a pause on these meetings; however, they are starting again this year, according to Williams.  

“We have a great working relationship with our local law enforcement, fire departments, and emergency management personnel. We have coordinated with law enforcement and local fire departments in an effort to keep them informed of the design features of our new buildings,” Williams said.  

Some notable safety features at each of the new schools are:  

•Both new schools have an access road around them for easy access for fire personnel and law enforcement. 

•The new schools will have the Centegix Crisis Alert system installed. This system allows staff and administrators to immediately handle any situation, anywhere on the school campuses. The staff all have wear-able badges that allow them to call for help at the push of a button (featured at all Tattnall County Schools). 

•Both new schools will have monitored security systems.  

•Cameras will be installed at both schools, but there is no set date for this installation. 

•Doors have locks with buzzers and a card reader system. 

•The buildings are designed as a type II non-combustible type construction in accordance with the National Fire Protection Association and have been inspected and certified by the State Fire Marshal’s Office.  

•There are sprinkler systems for fire. 

•There is fencing at both schools for safety purposes.

While change can be scary, especially in times like these, the Tattnall County Board of Education is surely making strides to provide a safe environment for Tattnall’s students. The new schools are very nice, and the students in our area are very privileged to walk those halls everyday!