HOOVER, AL (WBRC) - Hoover City Schools is at the number one spot once again in terms of the safest schools in the state.
The school district is not only ranking high among the state, but also in the nation.
According to Niche, a site used to research schools and colleges around the country, Hoover City Schools ranked fifth safest in the U.S.
"It's something that's on the forefront of our minds every day and that is safety first," said Superintendent Dr. Kathy Murphy.
And the results of Niche's 2018 Safest School Districts in Alabama prove just that.
Factors taken into consideration before ranking included expenses per student, student absenteeism, expulsions, and school related arrests.
The highest weighted criteria came from survey responses regarding safety which were reported by Niche users.
"We're absolutely not deceived in believing that we're immune from, or in someway, protected from the foolishness that people can bring to the door," said Dr. Murphy.
In addition to monitoring camera systems, and securing entrances and exits, Dr. Murphy said they're making some changes this upcoming school year.
They've hired a psychologist and behavioral specialist to be available to all 14,000 students.
"We realize that there are mental health issues that need our time, need our attention, need our energy," she said.
Both Dr. Murphy and Hoover High School Principal Don Hulin said one of the biggest reasons they've maintained their number one safety status is school resource officers.
"I never thought we'd be doing this in the 32 years that I've been in education. That we'd have to rely so much on folks like that to provide a safe environment to our kids," said Hulin. "We're educators. We're not safety professionals."
Hulin will testify before Congress and the Department of Justice on Thursday on the value SROs bring to public schools.
To see where your school district ranked, click here.