HOMEWOOD, AL (WBRC) - When students return to class in the Homewood City School system, most will notice a new security change.
It will be a different look for buildings that for years have been very open.
"We've learned over time with situations happening around the country, you need to do everything you can to harden your schools," says Dr. Kevin Maddox, Assistant Superintendent for Business Operations.
He says one way they're doing that is by adding a security vestibule: a secured lobby every visitor must go through.
"Basically, they have to be buzzed into the school," Maddox explains. "So there's someone putting eyes on each individual and if there were some type of emergency, they have an opportunity to alert the proper authorities before something tragic could occur."
Ever since 2012, when a gunman killed 20 students and six adults in Sandy Hook, Homewood officials have kept a consistent eye on the system's safety plan.
And when shots rang out in Parkland, Florida, and then a Huffman High student lost her life, the system added three more school resource officers.
Still, they felt more could be done. "If you feel unsafe in a school environment, you're not going to have learning taking place," Maddox said. "And that ultimately is our charge--student achievement. So we hope students feel really good when they return to school and we hope our parents will as well."