Opinion: Student safety is paramount

Published 9:26 am Monday, October 16, 2023

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

By NOAH WORTHAM | Staff Writer

A 15-year-old high school student from Appalachian High School was waiting on the school bus when catastrophe struck.

She was about to get on the bus with another student when she was tragically hit and killed by a vehicle that left the road.

This terrible story is just one of many car accidents that have recently happened in Alabama that should be prevented.

With all the services our local police officers provide, you would be hard-pressed to find one more important than protecting our youth. Fortunately, the Calera Police Department recognizes this and has been on the move to  provide a hands-on solution.

The Calera Police Department received reports of dangerous driving within the vicinity of school buses, including illegally passing a stopped school bus as well as speeding within the general vicinity.

With these reports of dangerous driving around school buses in Calera, the CPD have placed officers on stations around bus routes and even on the buses themselves.

Officers can now stand and watch and report first-hand when an incident occurs and radio local officers who are stationed nearby.

The increased presence of law enforcement, along with tickets and citations, will hopefully serve to disincentivize these dangerous driving behaviors near our schools.

This new program stands as a shining example of investment into the safety of our children, and I hope to see more precautions being taken by other local municipalities.

Fortunately, Shelby County is no stranger to investing into school safety as local cities have heavily invested into the School Resource Officer program. The city of Alabaster, for instance, recently approved the hiring of an eighth additional full-time SRO earlier this year.

SRO’s not only provide a continual presence on the grounds of a school to watch for dangerous intruders but also serve as a familiar face that the local students can get to know over the years. One might already feel safer with an officer around, but one you know and trust is even better.

However, it is also crucial that we not only find ways to protect kids while they are at school but also find ways to better protect them as they head there and as they make their way home.

Let’s not stop there and wait for another tragedy to occur before we move to change our policies and tactics. It would be good to see the local schools and municipalities continue to be forward-thinking in their approaches in ensuring the safety of Shelby County’s youth.