Selma City Principals meet and talk safety

Published 7:36pm Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Selma City Council President Henry Hicks, Sr. said the audience at their next meeting would not hear them argue, fuss and fight about one topic — ensuring school safety is adequate across the system.

After the recent tragedy in Newtown, Conn. all Selma school principals met with superintendent Gerald Shirley on Tuesday, who listened to their concerns and suggestions for increased safety measures in schools for all incidents, but especially for an intruder.

“My biggest concern here today is everybody’s safety — the principals, the teachers and the students,” Hicks said who wanted to bring everyone to the table and open up dialogue about safety. “If you bring whatever you need to bring to us regarding safety I don’t think you’ll here a lot of arguing and fussing and fighting about it, I think we will all find a way to make it happen.”

Principals brought concerns about locks that wouldn’t latch properly, security lights that were too dim and even security guards that were not doing there jobs properly. Shirley instructed all principals to send in all of these complaints and he said they would be dealt with in an expedited process.

Principals discussed in detail what their concerns are.

“Chances are this person that we are being cautious about is going to be somebody we all know, it is someone we might all love, and I don’t know how you can plan for something like that,” Edgewood Principal Joe Peterson said. “If all the doors are unlocked that person who got in could harm anybody they wanted to, if a child knows someone they will open the door.”

Principals had differing views and policies as to whether the interior doors in the school should remained locked throughout the day. If doors were locked then it would be impossible for a child to get in during an emergency lockdown. If doors were unlocked it would make it easy for an intruder to enter individual classrooms.

“Visibility, visibility, visibility, supervision, supervision,” Shirley said to the principals to remind them of the best procedures and things to keep in mind while tightening security.

Hicks said at the conclusion of the meeting, that there is no cost on safety.

“We may take every precaution we can take and there may still be a way for someone to come in but if we have to buy bulletproof glass to put in the front of these schools that might be something we need to invest in because there is not a cost we can put on safety,” Hicks said. “I want everyone to go to work and come back home if they can without someone walking in there and taking your life.”


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