Educators and lawmakers meet for school safety summit

Updated: Mar. 12, 2018 at 4:54 PM CDT
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BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - School leaders, lawmakers, and law enforcement personnel from Jefferson and Shelby County came together Monday for a school safety summit.

The group discussed the pros and cons of safety bills making their way through the Alabama legislature.   There is approximately a dozen of them up for consideration.

"I don't know if we have time to really address it this late in the session," said Senator Jabo Waggoner, R-Vestavia Hills.

However, lawmakers also understand they need to do something about this critical issue.

"My granddaughter teaches 2nd grade.  She picked up a note from one of the students (that said) I'm going to kill you.  You know that's the mentality in some of our schools, second grade," said Waggoner.

"There's a lot of issues, to be considered.  And one size doesn't fit all for all of our school districts in the state," said Representative Mac McCutcheon, Alabama Speaker of the House.

In other words, different circumstances require different protection plans and safeguards.

Jefferson County superintendent Craig Pouncey, who hosted the summit, hopes lawmakers remember that.

"Hopefully whatever they come up with, it will give that flexibility that allows local people to kind of make final decisions on how they can best implement some of these programs," said Pouncey.

There is one underlining issue that many feel affect districts across the board.

"Mental health was the number 1 concern of almost every superintendent that spoke and there is not a bill related to mental health that we have seen yet," said Dr. Pattie Neill, superintendent Trussville City Schools

Two things lawmakers know with absolute certainty is something has to be done and the clock is ticking.

"It's going to have to be something that's not going to be debated and filibustered.  It's going to have be something that the house and senate agree upon when it's filed," said Representative Allen Farley, R-McCalla.

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