Thanks to the educators of the Tuscaloosa City Schools I received a great education, and I never had to worry about my own personal safety. As a parent of children in the public schools, and as mayor, I know the world has changed significantly and we must do more than offer heated rhetoric and empty promises about school safety.
Since the 1999 massacre at Columbine High School, more than 150,000 students at 170 schools have experienced a shooting at their school. These horrific incidents often seem far away, but, sadly, Alabama schools have recently been a home for this type of tragedy.
Our children deserve a bright and safe future. There is no higher priority for government, for society, than ensuring that our children are protected. Recognizing this sacred responsibility, there are five strategies I will pursue as your Governor.
Our schools were built with open doors and were never constructed with the level of security in mind that we now must demand. Our schools have become soft targets for those who want to harm our children and our way of life. All future schools must be designed and built with security as a central focus. In addition to the physical improvements, every Alabama school must be protected by a trained and certified law enforcement professional (School Security Officers).
School Security officers will be highly trained to work with in a school environment. There will also be required active shooter and other school safety training for local law enforcement, staff and administrators. Planning and integration of responses are vital in preventing these incidences or saving lives.
No gun will ever be allowed on a school premise at any time except for the trained school security officers.
Protocols will be in place to identify people who are prone to violence in an effort to prevent any harm. This includes the integration of the Department of Mental Health, Alabama Law Enforcement Agency, and local law enforcement and school systems.
We will fully support rational gun control efforts to ensure those that are mentally unstable do not get guns.
Together, we can secure our schools, make our children safe, and protect the future by allowing our students to focus on their reason for being there – to improve their minds, expand their knowledge, and prepare them to be the leaders of tomorrow.