Schools sincere about safety

Local school systems are taking student safety, both in the classroom and on the bus, seriously. (Contributed)

Local school systems are taking student safety, both in the classroom and on the bus, seriously. (Contributed)

By NEAL WAGNER / Managing Editor
Like most of us, I was disgusted and shocked by the images I saw following the Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings in 2012. Because my wife is an elementary school teacher, that incident hit particularly close to home for me.
It saddens me that we must place so much emphasis on keeping our children safe while they are at school learning every day, but our local school systems have certainly given me reason to be optimistic in that regard.
The past several days have brought plenty of good things for the safety of Shelby County’s students, weather they are in the classroom or not.
Last week, the Shelby County School System announced plans to partner with the Shelby County District Attorney’s Office to beef up security at school bus stops throughout the county.
Students typically are most at-risk each day when they are getting onto or off of a school bus, and the two agencies are taking steps to combat those dangers. Shelby County school bus drivers are equipped with a detailed knowledge of bus stop traffic laws, and many of the county’s school buses are now equipped with external cameras to record the license plate of any vehicles that disobey the laws of the road.
As my coworker Graham Brooks wrote in his story last week, the punishments for passing a school bus while it is loading or unloading can range from a $150 fine to felony charges and driver’s license suspensions.
Last week, I also had the pleasure of covering Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange’s visit to Meadow View Elementary School in Alabaster. Strange presented the school with one of only eight statewide safety excellence awards, specifically praising the school’s Raptor security system.
Through the security system, visitors, after they are buzzed into the MVES front entrance, are entered into a computer system and issued an ID badge describing the level of access they have while at the school.
Great job, schools. I hate that we have to worry about kids’ safety so much, but I applaud you for going about it the right way.