Gov. Ivey signs Executive Order 713 during the “Smart on Safety Initiative” press conference Tuesday in Montgomery. (Photo: Governor’s Office, Jamie Martin)
MONTGOMERY – Gov. Kay Ivey on Tuesday unveiled her “Smart on Safety Initiative,” a plan the governor’s office said is aimed at keeping Alabama’s schoolchildren safe and will aid in enhancing school safety and security in the state.
"In announcing a four-pronged approach to school safety, we will build on the foundation already in place and allow all available state resources to be focused on efforts to keep our children safe," Ivey said. "Ensuring safety in our schools is a bipartisan issue, and we must do all we can to prevent violence and be sure we are ready to respond in the event such violence does occur."
Ivey’s “Smart on Safety Initiative” includes four key elements: Secured Schools, We Know Our Kids, Emergency Operations Plans (EOPs) and the Governor’s Securing Alabama Facilities of Education (SAFE) Council.
Secured Schools: Ivey recognizes that each school’s security needs are unique. Therefore, Alabama will support local school officials as they meet their own safety needs. Ivey supports permitting the Education Advancement and Technology Fund to be used for school security. (Senate Bill 323)
We Know Our Kids: Schools will intervene in the lives of students who are at risk of harming themselves or others, before they act violently. Schools will be encouraged to identify at-risk students through student engagement and other factors.
Emergency Operations Plans (EOPs): When a school emergency occurs, school personnel must be able to act immediately before first responders arrive. Schools must work with law enforcement and first responders to provide a coordinated response to emergencies. Each school will continuously update its EOP, and students and school personnel will receive regular training on the EOP.
Governor’s Securing Alabama Facilities of Education (SAFE) Council: During Tuesday’s press conference, Ivey signed Executive Order 713 convening her SAFE Council to implement her school safety priorities. The council will be composed of the Secretary of the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency, the Secretary of the Office of Information Technology, the Alabama State Superintendent of Education and the Commissioner of the Alabama Department of Mental Health. The SAFE Council will report to the governor by April 30, 2018.
The governor’s “Smart on Safety Initiative” is intended to be a flexible and workable framework which will be added to upon the recommendation of the SAFE Council and others.