On Tuesday, Gov. Kay Ivey unveiled her new “Smart on Safety Initiative” during a press conference at the State Capitol.
Ivey says her plan will enhance school safety and security, and that she is committed to keeping Alabama’s school children safe.
The initiative consists of four key principals:
- Secured Schools: Ivey recognizes that each school’s security needs are unique. Therefore, Alabama will support local school officials as they meet their own safety needs. Governor Ivey supports permitting the Education Advancement and Technology Fund to be used for school security. (SB 323)
- We Know Our Kids: Schools will intervene in the lives of students who are at risk of harming themselves or others, before they act violently. Schools will be encouraged to identify at-risk students through student engagement and other factors.
- Emergency Operations Plans (EOPs): When a school emergency occurs, school personnel must be able to act immediately before first responders arrive. Schools must work with law enforcement and first responders to provide a coordinated response to emergencies. Each school will continuously update its EOP, and students and school personnel will receive regular training on the EOP.
- Governor’s Securing Alabama Facilities of Education (SAFE) Council: During the press conference, Governor Ivey signed Executive Order 713 convening her SAFE Council to implement her school safety priorities. The Council will be composed of the Secretary of the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency, the Secretary of the Office of Information Technology, the Alabama State Superintendent of Education and the Commissioner of the Alabama Department of Mental Health. The SAFE Council will report to the governor by April 30, 2018.
“In announcing a four-pronged approach to school safety, we will build on the foundation already in place and allow all available state resources to be focused on efforts to keep our children safe,” said Ivey. “Ensuring safety in our schools is a bipartisan issue, and we must do all we can to prevent violence and be sure we are ready to respond in the event such violence does occur.”