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Superintendent calls for new clear backpack policy

Huntsville City Schools superintendent, Christie Finley, sent out a letter addressing the shooting today at Blossomwood Elementary.

Posted: Sep 17, 2018 6:06 PM
Updated: Sep 17, 2018 10:52 PM

Christie Finley, the Huntsville City Schools superintendent has sent out a letter addressing the shooting at Blossomwood Elementary School.

The shooting occurred when two second-grade students were playing with an unlocked firearm in the bathroom during P.E. when the weapon discharged and shot one of the student's in the hand. The P.E. teacher intervened and performed first aid on the child.

Campus security and Huntsville Police responded to the scene to remove the gun from the school. Finley said the campus was never put on lockdown, because the shooting was an accident and no other students were in danger once the incident occurred. 

"I believe routine is important for our students. So, tomorrow morning, we are going to have a normal school day. We want you to bring your students to class, and for our teachers to move forward with their lessons," Finley said.

Extra security will be implemented on the campus, and Finley said she is working to get a clear backpack policy in place district-wide. There is already a clear bag policy for athletic events.

An informational meeting will be held tomorrow night from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. in the Blossomwood Elementary School cafeteria.

"One single event does not define a school. As a former parent and principal of Blossomwood Elementary, we have a legacy of outstanding teachers, staff, and students and that legacy will continue," Finley said.

The President of the Board of Education, Elisa Ferrell, said there is a 20 person policy committee who would create the policy for clear backpacks and then the board would have to vote on it.

It would impact children here at blossomwood and throughout the district. Ferrell also said parents would be responsible for buying the backpacks.

Several of Mark and Jennifer Hanrion's kids attend Blossomwood Elementary School. Monday's incident with the gun scared them, so they're not opposed to buying new backpacks for their four children. "Clear backpack is great, but I don't know that it will completely solve the problem," said Mark Hanrion.

He said that because of certain things the students at blossomwood are required to take to school. "They carry these laptops. They're in these bags already, so what's going to stop them from bringing anything in their laptop and what's keeping these kids from putting anything in their pockets," said Hanrion.

Derek Gardner has a student in High School in the district and he doesn't think clear backpacks are a good idea, "To me I'd rather see something implemented in schools like metal detectors, something to that extent as opposed to everyone having to go out and buy new backpacks."

Gardner is also not sure how Superintendnt Finley's proposed task force would work. "I just don't know if there's a true answer. I mean, if there was it would already be implemented in the country, so it's really up to the parents to actually be parents and keep their guns safe, like we do," said Gardner.

The Hanrions are up for trying anything and everything to improve school safety, "I think at this point there's not a level that is too safe nowadays the way things are," said Jennifer Hanrion.

The Hanrions have some questions for the district and they'll be able to ask them right to Superintendent Finley here Blossomwood Elementary School Tuesday night from 5:30 to 6:30pm.

WAAY 31 will be there as well to ask Finley some questions about some of the more abstract policies she wants to implement in the district.

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