Tuesday night Huntsville City Schools Superintendent Christie Finley, Mayor Tommy Battle, and Huntsville Police Chief Mark McMurray all said there needs to be better parenting at home. They said its would prevent incidents like the one on Monday where a Blossomwood Elementary student brought a gun to school.
In a meeting with parents, the district also brought up several other safety improvements they want to implement, which inlcuded a clear backpack policy and the posibility of metal detectors.
Blake Spencer is one of roughly 150 Blossomwood parents in the meeting Tuesday night. Spencer agrees with district and city officials about children needing better parenting, "I personally don't believe this is a gun issue. I do believe that is it parenting and what's happening at home is trickling down to what's happening in our school system," said Spencer.
Margie Hammonds has a grandchild in the district and said parents need to step up as well, "The child should reflect the training at home and then the parent and the school work hand in hand in raising a good person."
Superintendent Christie Finley would not go into specifics about how the two children involved in the incident will be punished, but she did said they are not in school and will face consequences. In the current behavioral learning guide for the distric an elementary school student cannot be expelled.
Several parents in the meeting brought up a willingness for the district to change that rule. "Children have to learn there's a consequence and that's what you're teaching them at a younger age," said Hammonds.
"I believe that it should be as strict at elementary school as it is in high school. This is where they're learning. If they know they can get away with some things here then it's going to trickle up into high school and junior high," said Spencer.
The ideas of a clear backpack policy for all students in the district and metal detectors were well received by many in the meeting, but the biggest agreement in the crowd came from improved parenting at home. That is why Spencer said the meeting was partially for show, "I believe there's a little lip service involved. I think the people that are needing to be reached weren't in this meeting. I think the parent's that cared and wanted to be here were here, but the parents the message needed to get to were sitting at home somewhere."
According to several members on the Huntsville Board of Education aclear backpack policy could take anywhere from four months to a year to go into effect and very rough estimates for metal detectors show it could be incredibly costly. The potential price tag could be over one million dollars a year just for the five high schools, which does not include middle and elementary schools.
Superintendent Finley also plans to create a safety task force that will include parents, teachers, and students. The task force would bring ideas to the board of education for how they want safety to be improved.
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