Franklin County Schools unveil new campus security measures

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FRANKLIN COUNTY, Ala. (WHNT) – There’s been much talk about 2013’s Alabama House Bill giving volunteers in Franklin County the ability to arm themselves to protect rural schools.

Thursday morning school officials announced a program which will train teachers and staff to respond to situations whether there is armed security personnel on campus or not.

Franklin County Superintendent Gary Williams says the school system is partnering with The Protection Institute to develop security plans and training for faculty on each campus.

“This is to train every teacher in every emergency situation, whether it’s an intruder, a tornado, a fire,” explained Williams.

Shifting the attention away from gun-carrying teachers or volunteers on school campuses, Williams wants to empower teachers by giving them a proactive role in security.

“If you’ve got 50 teachers in a school and they are trained, well then you have those 50 working together to get things done in case of an emergency,” said Williams.

He added teachers and staff will be put through a series of training sessions, preparing them for every scenario possible.

In turn, Williams said it will give students a boost of confidence.

“They will know their teachers are capable of helping them in time of need. And that will give them confidence, give our parents confidence when they send their children to school, that in any emergency they will be taken care of,” said Williams.

This is the first county in the state of Alabama to comprehensively train teachers in a campus protection program and made possible through HB-404 passed in 2013.

Williams said he has not dismissed the possibility of teachers or staff members being armed on school campuses, and added there may be armed staff during the upcoming school year.

But Williams and Sheriff Shannon Oliver will be the only people to know who is and who isn’t armed to help protect the school.

Teachers and staff members with Franklin County Schools will begin training when they report back to school on Monday.

The training is being paid for through a community grant and in-lieu of tax money funds by the Tennessee Valley Authority.