Gov. Ivey unveils 4-pronged school safety initiative

Gov. Ivey unveils 4-pronged school safety initiative
Ivey unveiled her school safety initiative Tuesday. (Source: WSFA 12 News)

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - Gov. Kay Ivey unveiled the framework for her school safety initiative Tuesday. She was joined by law enforcement, education, and legislator officials.

Ivey said school safety is a bipartisan issue, and violence in schools is unacceptable.

"We must be prepared if it does happen here," Ivey said, referring to the school shootings that have happened across the nation.

Ivey said she met with legislators, school officials, and law enforcement to come up with a measured approach to the issue. She introduced her four pronged plan, called the Smart on Safety Initiative.

The first prong is to support Sen. Trip Pittman's bill to support funds for school security. The funds would be used to secure schools, purchase school security systems, hire guards, and more. Ivey said she recognizes each school's security needs are unique, and therefore Alabama will support school officials as they meet their own safety needs.

Ivey said the second prong is to enable schools to better identify threats, saying if you "see something, say something." She said schools will need to develop a plan to identify students at risk to themselves and others, promoting student involvement to keep them from falling through the cracks.

For the third prong, Ivey is asking schools to standardize how they respond to emergency situations. Ivey said students and personnel should be trained on how to respond in a crisis so they are prepared before it begins.

The fourth prong is an executive order to establish the governor's Securing Alabama Facilities of Education (SAFE) Council, a council to help come up with additional actions that can be taken to protect schools. The council will be required to report to Ivey by April 30 to discuss what can be done.

Ivey said only the ideas most likely to work will be implemented.

"Folks, we can't afford to get this wrong," she said.

Ivey said they have one goal:

"Ensure every Alabama school is smart on safety."

State superintendent Ed Richardson said the governor has presented a thoughtful, well designed plan, calling it a thorough approach to a complex problem. Hal Taylor of the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency said a school shooting could "absolutely" happen in the state, and the state must identify a funding source for the problem.

"We can't let funding be the reason we don't provide security for schools," Taylor said.

Senate Pro Tem Del Marsh pledged that if there is a recommendation to keep students safe, he will push to make sure it passes through the legislature.

"Our schools have been safe," Marsh said. "And this makes sure they stay safe."

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