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School Safety Will be a Big Topic of Discussion in the Legislative Session

By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporeter

Twenty First Graders and six adults including the Principal were gunned down by a hate filled madman at the Shady Hook Elementary School in New Town Connecticut.  Congress and state legislature’s both are under a lot of pressure to do something to make future school massacres less frequent.

The state of Alabama is no different.  Already Speaker of the House Mike Hubbard (R) from Auburn has announced hearings by a special joint committee on school security.  Speaker Hubbard said, “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.”

Alabama State Senator Cam Ward (R) from Alabaster said on Facebook, “I have been working with state and local officials to look into how we can improve school safety. I think one of the keys to improving safety in our schools is working with and listening to local law enforcement and educators. They are on the front line with our kids and understand this situation as well as anyone. I think there is a knew-jerk reaction right now in Montgomery to go out and pass a bunch of new laws which I am very hesitant about. Sen. Slade Blackwell and I had a good meeting with these local groups last week and I look forward to continuing to find ways to improve school safety.”

Alabama State Senator Kerry Rich (R) from Albertville, who serves on the House Education Policy committee, has pre-filed a bill to arm school employees.  Sen. Rich said that the principal at Sandy Hook, Dawn Hochsprung, who attempted to stop him before being shot and killed might be alive today if she had been armed.  Rich said, “If she had had a gun, or someone in that school had a gun, they could have taken him out before he reached the students.  That’s all I’m trying to achieve here — a way and a means where people have a way of protecting themselves and students in schools.”

The school safety hearing will be on Wednesday Jan. 9 and will reportedly include state Superintendent Tommy Bice as well as prosecutors and law enforcement officials.

Alabama Senator Bill Holtzclaw (R) from Madison has expressed concerns about arming teachers.  Sen. Holtzclaw said, “I’ll state that I’m doubtful we should arm teachers in Alabama. We must differentiate between the casual conceal to carry armed for self-defense against a mugging, and an active shooter intent on a massacre. We must recognize the difference between a teacher carrying a concealed weapon and the training required to engage an active shooter.”

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Sen. Ward said, “I’m certainly not in favor of passing any laws that infringe on the 2nd Amendment. As I said before I think the answer is not a whole bunch of new laws being passed. I think talking with those who deal with this on a day to day basis is a more logical approach than a bunch of politicians passing laws to look good.”

Brandon Moseley is a former reporter at the Alabama Political Reporter.

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