Alabaster BOE talks school safety

Published 9:21 pm Monday, April 22, 2013

The Alabaster Board of Education is considering ways to beef up security at the city's school facilities. (File)

The Alabaster Board of Education is considering ways to beef up security at the city’s school facilities. (File)

By NEAL WAGNER / City Editor

The Alabaster Board of Education will ask a consultant for tips on making the city’s schools safer, and the board soon will decide if it will help fund police officers in the city’s school buildings.

The announcement came during an April 22 School Board work session at the Alabaster Senior Center. During the work session, Alabaster Interim School Superintendent Dr. Phillip Hammonds encouraged the board to decide if it will help the city fund school resource officers during the 2014 fiscal year.

“The city has put an SRO in every school, and we are appreciative of that initiative,” Hammonds said. “I have talked with (City Manager) Mr. (George) Henry, and they would like some reaction from the board on how we could help.”

The city currently pays to station two school resource officers at Thompson High School and one officer each at Creek View Elementary School and Meadow View Elementary School. Alabaster also funds one officer at the Thompson Intermediate-Thompson Sixth Grade Center building on Alabama 119.

Hammonds said city officials are beginning to lay out Alabaster’s budget for the upcoming fiscal year, and must budget for any contribution the Alabaster School Board makes to fund the officers.

School Board members are working to separate from the Shelby County School System by July 1.

In addition to considering funding for school resource officers, the Alabaster School Board also is looking at ways to make the city’s schools safer.

During the work session, board member Ty Quarles requested Hammonds ask Volkert Engineering Vice President Leon Barkan to include school safety recommendations in Barkan’s ongoing assessment of the city’s school facilities.

“What can we do to tell parents we have done everything we can to make the schools as safe as we possibly can?” Quarles said.

Quarles and School Board member Adam Moseley said they would like to consider limiting access at Alabaster’s schools by using an ID card system or by routing all visitors through the schools’ front offices.