DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. — Just weeks into the new school year, a serious security concern is top of mind for many parents in DeKalb County. Parents contacted 11Alive frustrated and fearful that front door cameras at several DeKalb schools weren't working -- and hadn't been for months.
The district has asked 11Alive not to identify the schools that don't have any working cameras because it is a safety issue and they don't want to expose the vulnerabilities.
Some parents said they were frustrated and they decided to take matters into their own hands. Beth Zubia hoped security at her kids' school, Huntley Hills Elementary, would be tighter this year.
"It's very frustrating and disappointing," she said.
She found out last year the cameras at the front door were broken.
"From mid-May all the way to just last week, I kept engaging, asking 'what's the update, what's the update?' Every couple of weeks, I engaged the principal, she would give me an update, which the update were nothing had happened," she said.
She said she got so frustrated, she started working with the PTA to buy a ring doorbell camera for the front office staff to use to monitor who was trying to get in to the building.
"So the fact that we are going to use what anybody on the street can buy to protect our children, that just doesn't work for me, or most of the parents at this school," she said.
They got the idea from parents at Peachtree Middle School, who she said are doing the same thing.
The district said it's been aware of issues with the cameras since at least December -- but supply chain issues have slowed their progress in fixing it.
Just last week, the school board made an emergency authorization to get the right equipment in place to fix the cameras, but Beth Zubia said that's not fast enough.
"The fact that DeKalb County has not made this a higher priority to fix doors that are not functioning with cameras is beyond me," she said.
She wants it fixed, now.
"It only takes one person who had a bad day to come and do horrible things," she said.
The district released a statement to 11Alive about her concerns:
The DeKalb County School District (DCSD) places a premium on school safety and security.
To this end, we have been working to address known issues with camera systems at schools identified across the District. Just last week, the Board of Education approved up to $450,000 in emergency funding for purchasing security cameras, related components, and installation services.
While we cannot identify the DCSD schools with known camera issues by name due to safety and security concerns, the work to repair and upgrade security cameras has progressed over the last several months- especially through the summer break.
Moreover, after consulting with our security vendors, we anticipate that the District’s highest priority security camera needs will be fixed by next week.
Although supply chain issues have regrettably slowed progress in some cases, DCSD remains firmly committed to working as quickly as possible to provide state-of-the-art digital security upgrades that will unquestionably make our schools safer.