Riverwood International Charter School Officer Lamar Pankey (in black uniform) is assisted by his safety team of Campus Security Assistants (CSAs) Corey Gude and Larry Robinson (in baseball cap).  (Anne Boatwright/FCS)

Visitors to Fulton County Schools will continue to undergo screening this academic year, some of it happening before they leave their vehicles.

Fulton County Schools use Flock Safety cameras to screen vehicles when they enter school property and have trained school staff to screen visitors, according to Fulton County Schools Chief of Police Mark Sulborski. This includes if a parent has been barred from campus over custodial issues. He said they can address an issue before the visitor approached the school building.

The schools have security camera systems installed and every school leader and staff member has the communications tool CrisisGo installed on their cell phone, Sulborski said. Teachers and staff wear a Centegix Crisis Alert System badge to allow them to activate an emergency alert that shares the employee’s location within the school and the type of emergency.

FCS controls access at schools by screening visitors with doorbell cameras, he said. They will be restricted to the front office area and reception area of the school and will be required to run their driver’s license through a screening system to make sure they aren’t a sex offender or barred for any other reason from school property.

Meetings with teachers or other school staff need to be scheduled in advance following the school’s protocols, Sulborski said. All exterior doors have alarms to make sure they are kept locked and secured.

“I think about what are the things that our kids have to face on the day to day and I think one of the big things that we try to educate our parents on and we try to educate our kids on is a lot of the social media stuff is really big. So, that’s really going to tie that into a couple of things that we do in the school district as well,” he said.

FCS uses social media, text messages, email notifications and even makes phone calls if necessary to communicate with parents, Sulborski said. So parents need to make sure the school district has their updated contact information.

“Realistically, weather-related incidents are probably our highest priority, probably the highest number of incidents that we have across the district,” he said.

Regular power outages from storms cause disruptions, so weather impacts the school district more than anything else, he said. The school district pushes out information and informs about shelter-in-place because of potential inclement weather.

“Obviously, we don’t want parents rushing to a school in the tornado warning,” Sulborski said.

If parents go to a schools during a shelter-in-place order, they will not be able to get their kids. And it’s dangerous for them to be on the road at that point, he said.

Sulborski said he thinks about his children whenever the school district has a soft lockdown because police activity of some type happens in the school’s neighborhood.

“Even my kids have come home with stories about things that have happened in other schools in the district. And I’ve got to tell them no, that’s not exactly the way it happened,” he said.

Riverwood International Charter School Officer Lamar Pankey, center, and his safety team of Campus Security Assistants Larry Robinson, left, and Corey Gude, use technology and still walk the halls of school campuses to safeguard the students and staff. (Anne Boatwright/FCS)

Bob Pepalis covers Sandy Springs for Rough Draft Atlanta and Reporter Newspapers.