State schools superintendent talks security in wake of mass shootings

Published: Jul. 24, 2022 at 5:07 PM CDT
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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - Following a string of mass shootings across the country, including the deadly shooting in Uvalde, Texas, preventing violent attacks in Alabama is on many people’s minds.

Protecting kids in the classroom is one of the top concerns for state superintendent Dr. Eric Mackey. He explained safety protocols to prevent school shootings have been in place for over a decade, even being enhanced in more recent years.

“We’ve been able to avert any tragedy like that in our schools,” Mackey said. “We’ll continue to work on that. We see some really good projects that are going in place, even now, even this past year.”

In Montgomery County, the education leader said several schools have recently added more “airlocks,” meaning to enter the building an intruder must get through two sets of locked doors.

Some schools in the state were built decades ago and must be adapted to fit today’s standards.

“Many of our buildings were constructed in the 1940s, 50s and 60s, and so it was a different time,” he said. “We’re having to go back and retrofit old buildings.”

He stressed that the state would continue to work with local school districts to make sure teachers, principals and custodians complete safety training.

The state superintendent also wants to appeal to parents. They should keep a watchful eye and report any suspicious activity.

“If parents hear about somebody who might be violent, somebody who’s making threats on Facebook or another social media, you’ve got to let police know,” Mackey said. “If we don’t know there’s a possible threat out there, we can’t do anything about it.”

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