Local superintendents respond to program that could arm principals

Published 3:00 am Friday, June 1, 2018

By Jenna Oden

By June 15, a program to arm Alabama principals could be implemented.

Gov. Kay Ivey, state Superintendent Eric Mackey and Law Enforcement Secretary Hal Taylor signed a memorandum creating the Alabama Sentry Program, which authorizes administrators to undergo training and have firearms stored within the school.

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Ivey has the goal of beginning this program immediately at the start of the 2018-2019 school year.

For the Pike County Schools system, Superintendent Dr. Mark Bazzell says there are better options.

“We are opposed to arming teachers right now,” Bazzell said. “But, that’s not to say we won’t under special circumstances. There are better options.”

The program is not mandatory and will require local approval. Additionally, the program will only be used by schools who do not have a resource officer.

“There are a lot of questions being brought up right now and we will have more information sometime next week,” Troy City Schools Superintendent Dr. Lee Hicks said. “Our school resource officers do a great job at protecting our schools. We will take extra provisions if we have to.”

Ivey said that the program is a way to protect schools until every school has been able to bring in a resource officer. The Alabama Law Enforcement Agency will oversee training if a school does decide to volunteer for the program and names of those who do participate will not be released, according to the governor’s office.