HUNTSVILLE, Ala. - How to best protect students in schools is a topic that continues to dominate discussion across the nation. That discussion is one that the Alabama legislature is trying to tackle right now. There's been a number of bills introduced this session that looks to improve school safety. Perhaps the bill that's most talked about is the one that if passed would allow some teachers to be armed.
"The solutions to this have to come from the bottom up... not the top down. Politicians in Montgomery and politicians in Washington are not going to sit there and come up with all the great ideas and shove it down everybody's throat and say 'oh this fixes it.' Just because you won a few elections doesn't mean you know everything," said Rep. Mike Ball (R) Madison.
Ball believes those who work in the school system should be more involved in the school safety conversation.
"They're the ones. It's their jobs. It's their responsibility to come up with these solutions," said Ball.
Representative Will Ainsworth proposed a bill in hopes of allowing some teachers to be armed with proper training. As a previous SWAT team and hostage negotiator, Ball thinks the bill is a good start but could use some tweaking.
"There would have to be protocols. There are things like locks. There are ways to secure them if you do it. And before you do it you would have to have those protocols in place. Those policies would have to be developed," said Ball.
Ball said people shouldn't just think about guns, but more about tactical training.
"Having a frame of mind and being equipped to do that is necessary is part of it. But it's only a small part of it. Training them to de-escalate situations, to respond and to think tactically," explained Ball.
He said he is confident training teachers to do so could save lives in the event of a school shooting.
"The only response for a mass shooter, if they're shooting and they are armed you've got get a gun in front of them as soon as possible," said Ball.
The representative says it's time for everyone to turn the political switch off and come up with creative solutions. He says it's easy to be driven by fear but that's not helpful in this situation. He told me there's enough time to pass a bill before the session ends. However, he's unsure if a tactical teacher training bill will actually pass.