By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
Dealing with heavily armed mad men is part of the job description of America’s military and police forces. Sadly far too often it has become something that America’s teachers are also facing and they are ill equipped for the task. How to increase school security has become a priority following the slaughter of 26 teachers and first graders at Shady Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut.
Speaker of the Alabama House Mike Hubbard (R) from Auburn and Alabama Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh (R) from Anniston are responding to these concerns by appointing a Joint Legislative Committee on School Security and Teacher Safety.
Speaker Hubbard said on Facebook,
“There is nothing more important than the security of our children and teachers in an environment where they should feel the most safe – our schools. I am proud to announce that on January 9th we will hold a Joint Legislative Committee on School Security and Student and Teacher Safety. Our goal is to complete a comprehensive review of the issue and learn what we can do as a legislature to ensure public schools across Alabama are as safe, secure and protected as possible.”
‘The Alabama Political Reporter’ talked with Representative Jim McClendon (R) from Springville about Thursday’s announcement. Rep. McClendon said that it is his understanding that the Joint Legislative Committee will have members of both the House and the Senate and would be composed of the entire House and Senate Education Policy Committees and the Education Finance and Revenue Committees. There will also likely be joint chairmen for the hearings. McClendon said that this committee is not a permanent standing committee.
Speaker Hubbard said, “Our goal is to complete a comprehensive review of the issue and learn what we can do as a legislature to ensure public schools across Alabama are as safe, secure and protected as possible.”
Rep. McClendon told ‘The Alabama Political Reporter’ that the committee will hold hearings and then will make recommendations and report back to the legislature about any legislation that the joint committee believes that the legislature should pass. Rep. McClendon said that among the many topics that the committee is likely to address include adding resource officers to the schools, more video surveillance, cameras in schools, fencing, and other ways to limit an intruder’s access to the building. This topic of teacher safety is especially relevant for Rep. McClendon as his daughter is a teacher in the St. Clair County School system.
The Alabama House Republican Caucus posted on Facebook, “In response to the tragic shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary in Connecticut, House Speaker Mike Hubbard has announced a joint legislative public hearing on school safety. All are welcome to join on January 9 at the Alabama State House.”