State takeover of Montgomery schools includes review of climate, - WSFA.com Montgomery Alabama news.

State takeover of Montgomery schools includes review of climate, culture

(Source: WSFA 12 News file photo) (Source: WSFA 12 News file photo)
MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) -

As the state continues the intervention process into Montgomery Public Schools, they're reviewing everything - academics, financials and perhaps most importantly now, safety.

"We will absolutely be addressing culture and climate in the 27 schools, as well as having input with the other 29," said Dr. Barbara Cooper, Deputy State Superintendent and Chief Administrative Officer of the MPS intervention. "These are conversations that are critical to the intervention. We are focused on making sure we have safe environments and that we have positive school climates."

But climates near schools have been less than positive lately. In less than seven weeks, a student was shot at Lee High School by another student who admitted to pulling the trigger. A student at Capitol Heights Middle School was killed in her home during a drive by shooting, and earlier Monday armed juveniles attempted to gain entry to McKee Middle School, firing shots outside. 

Then there was Monday afternoon's murder of a 14-year-old Bellingrath Middle School student near campus.

[READ MOREMontgomery County DA vows to make example of youth violence suspects]

"It's important to us that schools and communities are safe places for all constituents but certainly our students and it's our desire that students are able to both be in school as well as come to and from school in a safe manner," Cooper said. "Principals are having conversations about at the end of the year, they normally have students stop bringing their backpacks and bookbags to school. These are conversations that will be held making sure that we have safe schools now through the end of the school year."

[READ MORE: Bellingrath parent says issues inside Montgomery schools are 'cultural']

Cooper says as the schools do their part, it's important parents in the home and leaders in the community do their part as well.

"Addressing the issue of violence is certainly a community as well as a school issue so we welcome parents to be our partners in these endeavors. We welcome the opportunity to have those conversations and many parents and community members are reaching out and giving us suggestions."

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