BAY MINETTE, Ala. (WPMI) A six member School Safety Council has been meeting for about a month now. After visiting several schools, the council has made initial recommendations on how to make local schools safer.
The first step was to organize, and with 45 schools in the system the challenge has been to find ways to better security by using resources already in place.
The first recommendation is to implement a safety and prevention plan at each school.
"So there's a lot of things behind the scenes in addition to locks and doors," said retired Secret Service Agent Kevin Levy.
Levy, a volunteer with kids in the district, is a key adviser on the School Safety Council.
"We are safer now than we were because just talking about it and giving our principals an orientation. I know our principals are doing more than they've ever done before," said Baldwin School Superintendent Dr. Alan Lee.
Levy said although the lay out for schools is different, one thing all schools should have in common is a uniform screening process for visitors. This means anyone who steps on campus that's not a student or staff member.
"I think people think in terms of physical protection and that is clearly a part of it - security obviously involved physical protection but there are procedural thing, ways that you handle yourself, ways that you allow access to an institution or a campus and ways that you don't," said Levy.
"And they have given us some things that don't cost us anything to do and we are going to take those as the low hanging fruit get those done. Then we'll look at the things that cost money and find to budget what we need to budget," said Lee.
Initially the council has recommended a better radio system for schools and that cameras be upgraded. Communication between schools and law enforcement is a key first step.
"We found that there are definitely some common threads amongst all the schools and that's really the purpose of our initial program when we set out to evaluate a handful of schools," said Levy.
The superintendent said he has asked that all teachers in portables lock their doors during school hours. Thursday, Lee met with a private security firm to look into the cost and the possibility of hiring armed security guards for all the schools.