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DeKalb students return to school with heighten security and improved technology

DeKalb County student kick off the first week of classes Monday Aug. 11.  Full, morning buses arrive at Stephenson Middle School in Lithonia. The 2014-2015 school year rolls in with record enrollment.
Nicole Bailey-Covin

School buses hit the streets Monday for both DeKalb and Fulton County Schools. Tighter security measures, more students enrolled, and new program successes was all part of the first day of school.

DeKalb County is seeing an all-time high in student enrollment this school year with more than 100,000 students populating DeKalb classrooms. Keeping those students safe was a $4 million dollars investment for the district.

DeKalb becomes the first Metro Atlanta School to place armed school resources officers at all its elementary schools. Security improvements also include buzz-in camera systems, new vehicles, upgrades in security cameras and officer communication equipment.

The new improvements in the security camera system will help officers watch for people carrying weapons on campuses. Despite Georgia’s change in its gun caring law allow weapons on school campuses, DeKalb joins other school districts not welcoming weapons on their campuses.

Public Safety Director Horace Dunson told WSB-TV, “Our officers are trained to identify individuals who may not present themselves as having a weapon and they’ll be directed off campus with those weapons.”

Teachers also returned to classes having completed crisis training classes over the summer.

Many DeKalb parents and students also showed their supporting the district's effort to encourage students to follow uniform dress codes. Stephenson Middle School’s “Dress for Success” uniform participation for the first day of school was nearly 100% for 6th, 7th and 8th graders.

DeKalb County also has district wide computer upgrades in place including the installation of more than 16 thousand computers as well as additional specialized classroom computers.

DeKalb parents will experience new technology this year with Infinite Campus. This system is a campus portal which will allow parents the opportunity to be engaged in their children’s education through direct online access. It will be a change from the district's present eportal system. With Infinite Campus parents and students can view attendance, schedules, grades and assignments online. Parents can also receive direct messages from the district, schools and teachers. Access to the Infinite Campus will also available on an App from mobile iOS or Andriod devices. The online program officially begins August 25.