North Alabama schools boost security in wake of Sandy Hook trage - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

North Alabama schools boost security in wake of Sandy Hook tragedy


In the wake of the horrific shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary, schools all over the Tennessee Valley are taking the time to review their own safety procedures. 

It is prompting educators to boost security and review emergency plans.

Through press conferences, emails, letters, and voicemails, school officials in North Alabama are now outlining their responses, as kids head back to school on the heels of this tragedy.

It has certainly been a tough weekend, but it may be a tougher week, as reality sets in at schools across the country.

Madison County is taking the edge off with increased police presence.

"Not all of our schools have student resource officers, so this week we will have law enforcement at schools that don't normally have them," said Superintendent Dr. David Copeland in a press conference Sunday.

School counselors will be on hand for kids who need to talk, and school officials will spend the next few weeks reviewing the crisis management plan and discussing any changes.

"We practice our lock down procedures twice a year and we have already successfully completed one this year. Can we improve? We certainly hope so. We hope to have the best plan in the world, and we certainly hope and pray we never have to use it," said Dr. Copeland.

In Decatur, Superintendent Ed Nichols sent out a voicemail to comfort parents and students.

"I know that all of us are saddened by Friday's tragic incident in Newtown, Connecticut. Since learning of this event, our school system has been in communication with our local police to ensure that we are taking every precaution to maintain a safe school environment. Your child's safety is our priority. In the days ahead, our staff is available to assist you in any way that you may need us. I want to remind you that we have a Safe Schools Decatur tip line. In case you ever have a school safety concern that number is (256) 227-8514."

In Huntsville City Schools, Superintendent Casey Wardynski notified everyone of heightened security measures to come.

"I wanted to let you know that you may notice heightened security measures at our schools over the coming days. Some of these measures may take the form of additional uniformed police presence and police patrols. These measures are being taken as a precaution and should not be a cause for concern. Huntsville City Schools will continue to work to ensure that all students can enjoy a safe and positive school experience."

State superintendent Dr. Tommy Bice also responded with this statement:

"We are evaluating each and everything we learn from the ongoing investigation of the Connecticut tragedy and will use those findings to assess our current school safety plans and procedures across Alabama.  As of today, however, our #1 focus is to ensure our children are safe, learning and enjoying this magical week before Christmas and reassuring them of all the good in the world." 

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