Cobb County

Some Cobb County parents are sounding off after ongoing false alarms at schools

COBB COUNTY, Ga. — Some Cobb County parents are concerned about recent false alarms with the district’s fairly new security system.

Channel 2′s Cobb County Bureau Chief Michele Newell went to the district’s administration office to find answers.

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Parent Jennifer Barrera said she was shocked when her daughter sent her a text message from Sprayberry High School earlier this month.

“‘I was terrified in third period. I was stuck in the computer lab and there was a code red, not a drill,’” Barrera said, reading the text message from her daughter.

An employee triggered a Code Red by mistake and the school was briefly on lockdown.

“It’s a new system, so I understand there’s bugs, but this is not something you want to get wrong,” Barrera said.


On Wednesday morning, Shallowford Falls Elementary School sent a Code Red drill notification to students’ parents.

“It was just immediately alarming because I saw the word drill but in combination with the other words I immediately felt really nervous,” said parent Melissa Martin.

Parents received robocalls, a text message and an email explaining the red code drill notifications and how the alerts were for staff members, not parents.

“Last week, we were contacted twice about a situation that happened at two different schools. A staff member accidentally triggered a Code Red. I just feel like if the district didn’t have a long-standing issue with clear transparent communication with our parents, I think that these parents that reached out to us today would be able to extend the district a little more grace, " said Heather Tolley-Bauer, co-founder of Watching the Funds Cobb.

Even though there have been problems with the district’s new security system this school year, Bauer believes it’s an upgrade from the security system the school used previously which had ongoing problems.

Bauer said her son’s school had a Code Red drill recently that she was able to experience firsthand.

“I feel like I had a real, firsthand experience of seeing our crisis management system, crisis alert system work. I experienced it the way our kids did,” Bauer said.

She still believes the district can do a better job communicating with parents.

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A spokesperson from the Cobb County School District sent the following statements about the recent problems:

“Earlier today, the District did perform a Code Red Drill at Shallowford Falls Elementary School. Students and staff are safe. There was never any threat or danger, and school quickly resumed normal operations. We encourage students, staff, and parents to visit the district’s website to see what Cobb Schools is doing to keep our schools safe.” – Cobb County School District Spokesperson

“Earlier in the month, a Sprayberry teacher, in the excitement of the moment, accidently initiated a code red while trying to initiate a staff alert to get help for a student during a medical emergency. The campus was safe and the school quickly resumed normal operations. Our highest priority is the safety and well-being of our students and staff. Learn more here.”