Another day, another guns-in-schools incident. Or so it seems. The deadly combination of firearms and educational institutions isn’t going away anytime soon and with the federal government paralyzed on gun control and states doing no better, one school district figures it's better to turn itself into a miniature police state.
After two incidents of armed intruders gaining access to schools in the metropolitan Atlanta area, Marietta City schools have asked local cops to provide additional officers to keep the schools safe from gun violence.
"I think part of it is the visibility, but I think part of it is the trust too," said Julie King, principal at a Marietta elementary school. "When you see that uniform you know they're trained, they know what they're doing and you know that someone around here is ready."
Marietta has one high school, two middle schools and eight elementary schools. Normally, two officers patrol the high school and one each at the middle schools during the school day, with whichever officers are closest responding to any trouble at an elementary school. In the wake of recent incidents, Marietta cops have stepped up their patrols around all of the schools.
The school district has been beefing up other forms of security recently as well, installing “panic buttons” in all 11 schools, alerting police of trouble as soon as the buttons are pressed. The elementary schools also allow entry only through a “buzz-in” system, making it more difficult for unauthorized intruders to get into the buildings where they could wreak havoc.
Marietta's request for heightened police presence follows a highly publicized incident in nearby DeKalb County in which a gunman snuck into a school building despite a buzzer entry system but was coaxed into surrendering by a quick-thinking school bookkeeper, Antoinette Tuff.
The following day, a man was arrested at a school in Canton, Ga., with knives and a weapon identified as a BB gun.
SOURCES: Marietta Daily Journal, NBC Channel 11