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Legislative Advisory Committee on School Safety and Security holds first meeting

Brandon Moseley

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A new Legislative Advisory Committee on School Safety and Security that was created by Speaker of the House Mac McCutcheon, R – Monrovia, and has been tasked with reviewing and vetting legislation involving school security issues. The task force held its organizational meeting at the Alabama State House on Tuesday.

The panel is comprised of legislators, law enforcement officials, educators, and mental health professionals.

Speaker McCutcheon addressed the meeting. The Speaker told the group that he hopes it will serve as a valuable resource for lawmakers by providing advice, input, and counsel on school security measures that are introduced in upcoming sessions of the Alabama Legislature.
State Rep. Terri Collins (R – Decatur) serves as chair of the advisory committee and led a similar Emergency Task Force on School Safety and Security that was formed in 2016. The earlier task force recommended several school security statutes that have since been passed into law and enacted.

“Because of the work of the previous task force and now this committee, Alabama is ahead of the curve nationally, and we are leading many other states in the area of school safety and security,” Collins said. “As a result of the partnerships we’ve formed among the groups represented on this committee, we are all working to ensure our schools, our children, our teachers, and our administrators are safe, secure, and prepared to react if the unthinkable ever happens.”

State Rep. Alan Baker (R – Brewton), who is a retired public school teacher, also serves on the advisory committee and has previously sponsored and passed important school security measures into law.

“This committee will serve as a great resource to any lawmaker who is considering legislation related to school safety and wants their ideas vetted before being introduced,” Baker said. “Everyone involved in school safety from law enforcement to school administrators to mental health to the Legislature is represented on this committee, and I am proud to be a part of its efforts.”

The committee will hold its next meeting prior to the start of the 2019 regular legislative session in March in order to review state budget recommendations and pre-filed legislation related to school safety and security.

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The member of the committee include: Collins, Baker, Rep. Rex Reynolds (R – Huntsville), Rep. Rod Scott (D – Fairfield), Lee County Sheriff Jay Jones, Alabama Department of Mental Health Legislative Affairs Director Holley Caraway, School Superintendents Association of Alabama Executive Director Ryan Hollingsworth, Council for Leaders in Alabama Schools Executive Director Vic Wilson, Alabama Homeland Security Director Shirrell Roberts, Alabama Department of Education Administrator Greg DeJarnett, Lee County Deputy Sheriff Pamela Revells, Alabama Department of Mental Health Commissioner Lynn Beshear, and Elmore County Public Schools Counseling Coordinator Emilie Johnson.

Governor Kay Ivey (R) has already created a school safety task force that presumably will have legislation recommendations for the legislature to consider.

The only way to stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun. Figuring out how to get more good guys with guns into the schools, whether that is through more school resource officers or arming trained security teams of administrators and/or teachers, will likely be considered by the legislature.

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