Summer’s bell rings, school is back

Published 12:01 pm Monday, August 22, 2022

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The anxiety of that last day of summer break has subsided and the first bells of the 2022 schoolyear have rung.

The excitement of making the most of that last day of summer and staying up late one last time has surpassed, and the nerves of who will be in your class and what your teachers will be like has returned.

More than that, however, as students started their return to the classroom across Shelby County Aug. 12-13, it reminded us of just how fortunate we are in Shelby County.

Not only do we have some of the best academic success and tools in the state, but the county has some of the safest schools as well.

An added stress to the return of school in recent years, especially this year, school safety has been a top priority for school administrators, police departments, teachers, parents and government officials.

That has been heightened due to school shootings becoming more prominent in recent years, but even more so after the 2021-2022 schoolyear was days away from ending when another deadly tragedy struck.

That tragedy came at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas on Tuesday, May 24 just two days shy of the year coming to an end.

It was another senseless event that remains inexplicable in the minds of sane individuals, but one that has become far too common.

Fortunately, each school system across Shelby County continued pouring resources into school safety throughout the summer.

Alabaster City, Pelham City, Hoover City and Shelby County schools all held training sessions during the summer.

Some did active shooter training with a real-life demonstration to know what to do, others did the same as a surprise to their staff not even knowing what was coming to see how they would react and then teach them the right ways and many held seminars with law enforcement training on how to react.

As a staff, we held a training session ourselves a few years ago after the Capital Gazette shooting in Maryland so we could feel prepared together should we ever face a similar situation.

It is an emotional and draining experience, but it truly does make you think about your surroundings and be aware of the best options to protect yourself, your staff and, in the case of schools, the students, which is the top priority.

The school trainings were just as intense, if not more so, which should do a handful of things: help our students feel safe, help our teachers and administrators feel prepared and help parents have peace of mind of their kid’s safety throughout the day.

The Alabaster Police Department, Pelham Police Department, Shelby County Sheriff’s Office and many others have all emphasized school safety and many have posted about how serious they are taking it in the days leading up to school starting.

With that, we can focus on the good our school systems continue to do.

It truly is remarkable to watch just how much everyone cares about making a difference in the lives of the kids throughout Shelby County to give them their best chance at success.