Added school security for the new school year - ABC 33/40 - Birmingham News, Weather, Sports

Added school security for the new school year

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Active shooter drills are just one of the many safety measures schools are taking in Central Alabama. (abc3340.com) Active shooter drills are just one of the many safety measures schools are taking in Central Alabama. (abc3340.com)
SHELBY COUNTY - AL -

 

When it comes to keeping students safe, Chelsea Middle School gets top honors. The Alabama Association of School Resource Officers award the school its "Safe Schools" award. The school was recognized for its response during an incident in February where five girls were held at gunpoint at school. The girls were able to get out of the school safely. 

The standoff at Chelsea Middle - and the Sandy Hook shootings were the starting points for added security across many Central Alabama districts. Administrators have spent the Summer adding resource officers and starting construction to secure campus buildings for the new school year. The "National Association of School Resource Officers" says because of those incidents, districts are more prepared this year than ever before.

Just two months after the Sandy Hook shooting, Central Alabama had a wake up call of it's own when a former employee held Chelsea Middle students at gunpoint. 

"He pointed the gun at them and basically over their head," a parent said on the scene in February.

It was a school resource officer and trained staff members who knew what to do and thankfully no one was hurt.

"They had been practicing school safety drills and had been putting a lot of attention toward it and as a result they were very well prepared," Cindy Warner, Shelby County Schools spokesperson said.

The National Association of School Resource Officers, based in Hoover, has been busy to say the least...

"So far we have run 92 classes, so our training has just a little more than doubled," Mo Canady, Executive Director, NASRO said.

It's been flooded with phone calls from school districts - not just here in Central Alabama - but across the country and around the world, asking for trained officers who can protect students on campus.

"It all leads back to December 14," Canady said. "We were a very active organization prior to December 14, prior to the Sandy Hook massacre. Once that occurred, I think more and more communities are looking for  a pro-active way to deal with a potential act of violence."

Part of that training has been going on all Summer long in many Alabama districts - both Jefferson and Shelby counties held active shooter training.

"All of our administrators participated in that and really learned first hand what a tactical team would come assist with," Warner said.

Since the Chelsea Middle standoff all entrances to Shelby County Schools are being re-evaluated. The district is aiming to limit access on campus and add a buzzer system to the entrances starting at Montevallo.

 Right now, the district is working to pinpoint funding to construct those new entrances. Also this year, every Shelby County school zone will have a resource officer. 

 

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