ALBERTVILLE, Ala. -- Forty-three Albertville High School culinary arts students were at Nashville's Opry Mills Mall during the shooting that left one man dead.
The group was on a field trip in Nashville, and one of the stops was the mall. "Our students were at the mall at the time of the shooting," said Albertville City Schools superintendent Boyd English.
Through a safety plan already in place, the students were navigating the mall in groups, and they were also connected through an app on their smartphones. Within minutes of the shooting the teachers were able to make sure every student was accounted for and safe. "We knew immediately that they were safe, and that calmed our concerns," English said.
That was relayed back to system leaders in Albertville. School staff called parents and they put the information on social media platforms.
The teachers encouraged the students to call their parents too. "I want to commend Dr. Robinson and her counselors who were there last night upon their return and the culinary staff," English said, "They did an amazing job in ensuring the safety of our students.
System leaders say they're constantly looking at the safety plan. "We pray that we don't have to have something like that happen again, but we always want to take the events that occur and learn from them and try to improve if there's area for improvement," English added.
School officials say the students are understandably shaken, and now their sights are turned to supporting them emotionally.