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Long rifles going in every middle and high school in Fayette County

After the rash of school shootings earlier this year, the school board voted to put a long rifle in every middle and high school in the county.

FAYETTE COUNTY, Ga. - Even six months later, the 911 call is still chilling.

"Someone's shooting up Stoneman Douglas [High School]."

Video from the Parkland, Florida school that day shows students walking outside in a line, hands up in raw fear.

"I really thought I wasn't getting out of this alive," one student said.

Seventeen others did not make it out alive after shooter Nikolas Cruz opened fire in the school. This is the new reality of going to school after those 17 were murdered. That's one of at least 20 school shootings so far this year.

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Metro Atlanta refuses to be owned by that fear, and many are reviewing and adding to their safety protocols.

Fayette County is taking action by adding a long rifle inside every middle and high school in the county. It will be locked in a safe in the School Resource Officer's (SRO) office.

"It's just another layer of protection," Melinda Berry-Dreisbach said, spokesman for Fayette County Schools.

Berry-Dreisbach says the gun has always been on school property, but before, it was locked in the trunk of the SRO's car, an inconvenient location if there's every a shooter inside the building.

"That's wasting some precious time," she said.

The safe will be hooked up to an alarm and camera system, and it will sit behind a locked office door. Not even the principal will have the code to get in.

"So if anyone tries to get in there, we're going to know about it," Berry-Dreisbach said.

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The SROs do carry a pistol on their belt, but the hallways in Whitewater High, where 11Alive got the tour, are very long. They want to make sure they have a weapon that could reach a shooter at the other end.

The idea is to meet a potential shooter with at least their level of force or greater.

"Our School Resource Officers need to be equipped with the right instruments to be able to protect the students and the staff," Berry-Dreisbach said.

Each safe and security system is costing about $2,000 per school and law enforcement agencies are paying for the guns.