Kay Ivey’s school safety council releases first 10 recommendations

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A newly formed council focused on making Alabama schools safer for students and educators released it’s first report of recommendations Governor Kay Ivey announced Monday.

The Governor’s “Securing Alabama’s Facilities of Education” (SAFE) Council issued the 36-page report, which focused on improvements in three areas: physical security, threat assessments and mental health, and coordinated training and planning.

On March 6, Governor Ivey launched the Smart on Safety Initiative, a comprehensive, common-sense plan to achieve school safety and security in Alabama, in the wake of the deadly school shooting at Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla. that left 17 dead. The plan included the creation of the SAFE Council to implement her school safety priorities and to develop additional proposals for enhancing the safety of Alabama schools.

Recommendations

  • Physical Security
    • Funding for School Resource Officers (SROs) and District Safety Coordinators (DSCs)
    • Bond Issue for Enhancing School Building Security
    • Surveillance Systems Linked to Law Enforcement
  • Threat Assessments and Mental Health
    • School-Based Mental Health
    • Identifying Warning Signs
    • Reporting Threats
    • Tracking School Violence
  • Coordinated Training and Planning
    • Empowered and Accountable District Safety Coordinators
    • Building a Culture of Safety
    • School Safety Training and Compliance Teams

“I am very pleased with the findings of the SAFE Council and I am already having discussions with agency heads about implementing some of these recommendations immediately,” Ivey said. “Other recommendations need further consideration and will need some actions by the Alabama Legislature. I will continue to review the recommendations within this report, and other options not directly addressed by the report, to ensure all Alabama schools are as safe and secure as possible.”

Ivey concluded, “I am confident that once these recommendations are fully implemented they will greatly reduce the chance for tragedy in our schools.”

Council member and Interim State Superintendent of Education Ed Richardson says it’s the state’s responsibility “to use whatever resources and collective ingenuity” to ensure students attend school in a secure environment.

“The only thing more important than making sure Alabama students receive a quality education that prepares them for the future, is making sure they are safe from hurt, harm, and danger when in our care,” Richardson said. “Parents entrust the safety and well-being of their children with caring education professionals every day. It is our responsibility to use whatever resources and collective ingenuity we have to uphold the promise that Alabama students attend school in a secure environment that is safe and conducive to learning.”

What’s next

The SAFE Council report is one part of a four-step process aimed at objectively accessing security needs in Alabama schools and then implementing those recommendations which are proven to be effective.

The second step, which is currently underway, includes a full review by Gov. Ivey of the report, including in-depth discussions with the leaders of agencies effected by the recommendations.

The third step, which is expected in the next few weeks, includes executive branch implementation of those recommendations which do not require legislative approval.

The fourth, and final step, is the ongoing review, by the SAFE Council, of school security conditions and needs.

The priority for this report is the safety and security of K-12 facilities with consideration for post-secondary institutions. The SAFE Council will continue meeting as needed to work on implementing these recommendations and to fulfill other recommendations in their report.

Members of the SAFE Council

  • Dr. Ed Richardson |  Presiding, Interim State Superintendent of Education
  • Jimmy Baker | Chancellor, Alabama Community College System
  • Hal Taylor | Secretary of Law Enforcement
  • Lynn Beshear | Commissioner, Alabama Department of Mental Health
  • Jim Purcell | Acting Secretary of Information Technology

Read the full report:

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