MONTGOMERY — Alabama schools superintendent Tommy Bice said Thursday the state’s schools have a comprehensive safety plan which he feels good about.
Bice’s comments came Thursday during a work session of the Alabama Board of Education. The session was called to discuss safety in state schools after the mass shooting at a Connecticut elementary school in December.
“Our schools are probably the safest place our children can be on a day-to-day basis,” Bice told board members.
Bice said much of the safety planning for Alabama schools was developed at the local level. He said that way, each plan takes into account the needs of the local school.
Lamar Davis explained to the board a new program called Virtual Alabama, which will allow first responders to a school emergency to see a floor plan of the school and the location of any possible hazards.
Davis said Virtual Alabama made Alabama one of the first states with an online safety plan.
Board member Mary Scott Hunter, of Huntsville, asked Davis if other states have shown any interest in the Virtual Alabama program.
“They all want it,” Davis said.
The superintendent has asked state public school systems to turn in their individual school safety plans to him by early February.
Bice told state school board members that guns are banned from school property except in the hands of law enforcement officers and others such as private security officers.
Alabama lawmakers have said they expect to consider legislation during the upcoming session to address the entire school safety issue. They were expected to open discussion on a range of proposals.
Hunter suggested one way to make the schools safer would be to have schools be able to lock the doors from the inside. Bice said that has been considered before, but it violates fire safety regulations.