Catoosa County schools install cutting-edge technology to keep kids safe

Catoosa County introduced Sielox, a new security system, into all schools. Tiger Creek Elementary piloted the program. (Image: WTVC)

Catoosa County school leaders say they have made security upgrades that will give parents peace of mind.

Student safety is always a concern, especially after mass shootings like the one in Parkland, Florida one week ago.

"We're worried to death about what could happen," said Kyle Johnson, a parent of a 3rd grader in Catoosa County.

There's one place, however, Johnson feels his daughter will be safe.

"Tiger Creek Elementary - I send my daughter here and I don't worry," said Johnson. "I don't worry about her here at this school."

Tiger Creek Elementary is the first school in Catoosa County, and in the entire region, to test out a high-tech security system called Sielox.

It starts with a color-coded map of the school that teachers can change from their computer, cell phone, or iPad.

"If it's an imminent danger, a medical emergency, or they're just outside at the playground, we will know based on the color of the screen," said Principal David Beard. "It tells us if there's a problem in a particular classroom."

Certain colors send a message directly to law enforcement, giving the Catoosa County Sheriff's Office a real-time look at what's going on inside the school.

The system even tracks movement, so in an active shooter situation, officers could monitor people walking down the halls.

Related | Police investigating as area high schools receive threats for Thursday

Lead School Resource Officer Kenneth Hooton says Sielox shows deputies exactly where to respond, saving valuable time.

"The quickest response is the best response," said Corporal Hooton.

It is a system that lets parents know their children will be protected.

"I mean, what just happened in Florida - granted it was a high school - but same things happen in elementary schools, and here, I don't worry about it," said Johnson. "My daughter is safe."

Sielox has already been installed in every Catoosa County school. Administrators are hoping to have it up and running at the beginning of next year.

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