Local superintendents share security concerns at their schools - WSFA.com: News Weather and Sports for Montgomery, AL.

Local superintendents share security concerns at their schools

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MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) -

School and state leaders came together to address the issue of safety in schools.

The meeting comes one month after a gunman opened fire at Sandy Hook Elementary School killing 20 children and 6 teachers.

That tragedy could prompt state legislators to consider funding new ways to protect our children.

Legislators and local leaders hope to prevent it from ever happening again.

"We live in an entirely different world and environment now," says Dr. Jeff Langham with Elmore County Schools.

That's why Senator Bryan Taylor gathered some of the superintendents in his district for a roundtable discussion about what's working in their schools and what's not.  Superintendents from Autauga, Elmore, Crenshaw, Butler, and Lowndes counties as well as Troy City Schools.

Many say their security concerns start at the most basic point of entry--the door.

"One school we cannot lock from the inside...we have to go on the outside to lock," says Superintendent Dr. Daniel Boyd with Lowndes County Schools.

"We have the doors that lock from the outside," adds Butler County Schools Superintendent Darren Douthitt.

In an emergency, these leaders admit their schools' old doors compromise student safety.

They also believe every school needs an armed security officer and that teachers should not be the ones carrying weapons.

"We have that presence in our middle schools and high schools but looking to the ability to add them [armed officers] to our elementary school campuses as well," adds Langham.

"More police presence probably at each school," says Troy City Schools Superintendent Lee Hicks.

"We do not have coverage on the south end of our county--for Georgiana and McKenzie," says Douthitt.

"We have only two security officers...they only work at our high schools," adds Boyd.

But how do you pay for new technology and armed officers?

Senator Taylor is considering introducing the idea of a bond issue that would fund additional school security tools.

"I'd be very supportive of a bond issue that allows that. That may be the answer," adds Douthitt.

Boyd says his principals are undergoing crisis management training to know what to do if an emergency occurs.

He says they're also learning about warning signs for students who may be in need of mental health counseling.

Senator Taylor says if the legislature considers a bond issue the money would pay for new security hardware. Each school system could then use their own existing funds to hire additional security officers.

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