North Alabama school districts examine their safety measures in the wake of Thursday morning's deadly shooting in California

Anytime there's a school shooting, administrators here in North Alabama examine their own safety measures.

Posted: Nov 14, 2019 7:21 PM

Anytime there's a school shooting, school administrators in North Alabama examine their own safety measures.

"It's our worst nightmare...It is absolutely," said Dr. Cindy Wigley, Marshall County Superintendent.

That's what Wigley said was one of her first thoughts when she learned about Thursday morning's deadly school shooting in California.

The Marshall County superintendent shared the same feeling with parents, who tell me it makes them think about their own children.

"Is she safe? Are the steps that we are taking as a school and as a system good enough?" said Lauren Thompson.

This year the Marshall County district has taken steps to make schools safer.

County commissioners approved a new car tag fee to fund resource officers in every school. Right now, 3 part-time officers rotate throughout the district. The district is looking to hire 14 school resources officers. They'll start that in January, when the car tag fee goes into effect.

"I think that's gonna help, I think that's steps in the right direction," said Lauren Thompson, Marshall County parent and teacher.

The district has added new software to flag when students are researching dangerous keywords on school computers.

"Safety is our number one thing and every day that is our focus...Making sure our children are safe," said Wigley.

The district also ordered about 20 new buses with HD cameras. The former buses only had one camera at the front.

This year, they've increased free mental health services. Counselors now head to schools multiple times a week to talk with students. 

Russelville City Schools is prioritizing mental health as well.

"Our partnership with Florence Riverbend health services is one of the best things we've ever done," said Superintendent Heath Grimes.

Grimes told WAAY31 they've been partnered for 2 years, and it's had a positive impact.

"To be able to get the services they need, but also if there are flags that comes up in counseling sessions we are alerted to those," said Grimes.

So far, 60-Alabama school districts are participating in a statewide mental health program. This year Huntsville city and Madison County schools announced a partnership with Wellstone to place a counselor in every school.

"We have a powerful system in place for any such needs. We have a relationship with Wellstone Behavioral Health. If our students have a need, it will be met," said Tim Hall, Madison County Schools spokesman.

Parents tell WAAY31 addressing mental health is a step in the right direction. But any time there's a school shooting, they will worry about their own child's safety.

"It's really scary, I can't imagine what the people in California are thinking right now," said Thompson.

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