Saturday, December 9, 2023

Who is Safe to Enter Our Schools?

Caleanna Woods at Rankin Elementary demonstrates the buzzer system.


Tupelo schools install new locks, buzzers to keep students safer

By Teresa Wilson

Email Teresa Wilson at

Tupelo Public schools are hoping a new system of locks and buzzers will help keep students a bit safer. The district installed the lock buzzer system, a video intercom at the main entrance to all elementary schools, which allows office personnel to see visitors as they approach the doorways before allowing them entrance into the school.

This year, the school system spent $100,000 to install these buzzer systems at the eight elementary schools in the district. Superintendent Gearl Loden says it’s part of an overall emphasis on safety.

“Every school in the district runs periodic emergency drills to familiarize students and staff what to in a variety of situations ranging from tornadoes to active shooters in the building.”Loden said “Our goal is to provide a safe and orderly environment in all schools.”

Local police and teachers are praising the move.

“The buzzers will keep the predators out,” said Sgt. Katasha White with the Tupelo Police Department.

Kashundra Pittman is a fifth grade teacher at Rankin Elementary.

“I am happy to know we have the buzzer system,” said Pittman.

The focus on safety has increased following the violence at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newton, Conn. Twenty-six people, 20 students and six teachers, were shot and killed after a gunman walked into the school and opened fire on Dec. 14, 2012.

The Tupelo school board approved the installation of the locker buzzer system on January 8. Grace Hall is a parent in the district who supports the move.

“You can do everything in the world, but there are crazy people out there. You can’t prevent every single one of them. With the buzzer system in our schools, I’m pretty confident it will keep the crazy people out of my son’s school,” said Hall.

Rankin Elementary School has already installed the buzzer system, and Principal Paul Moton says he’s confident in the security procedures and practices they have in place to protect students and employees.

“Our babies will be safe every day they enter these doors.”