Sen. Perdue, Marty Kemp tour school security improvements

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A handful of state leaders toured a Forsyth County elementary school Friday to learn about security improvements made for this school year.

U.S. Senator David Perdue, Georgia First Lady Marty Kemp, State School Superintendent Richard Woods and others sat down with officials from the school district and the Forsyth County Sheriff's Office at Mashburn Elementary School on Friday. 

"I believe that these guys are on the cutting edge right here at this school and this school system frankly, for what we've got to pay attention to," said Sen. Perdue, R-Georgia. 

Earlier this year, Governor Brian Kemp allocated $69 million dollars for school security grants.  That meant $30,000 for every public school in the state.

At Mashburn, the district used that money to reconfigure the front entrance to add an additional secure door, install a visitor check-in system that scans people's driver's licenses and put up extra surveillance cameras.

"We already had one door where you have to be let into the school and then we added an area where there's now another door," explained Principal Carla Gravitt.  "So, once anyone comes in to check in they have to come in that front door, be let in.  Then we scan their license to make sure that everything is okay and then once all that has been approved and is good, then there's another door where we allow them access into the school." 

First Lady Kemp said she was impressed with all the upgrades. 

"It lets the parents feel more comfortable having their kids at school, knowing they're safe.  They can do their jobs better and it just puts everybody at ease," said Mrs. Kemp.

Sen. Perdue said it is important the school systems share best practices for security and he has drafted bi-partisan legislation which would create a national clearinghouse for that information and specifically school design plans.  He believes the changes that have been made at Mashburn could serve as a good example for other schools. 

"This is an older school.  There are [ways] that we now know that we would build a school a certain way.  They've been able to retrofit some of those here," explained Sen. Perdue.