HUNTSVILLE, Ala. - District and community leaders held a meeting for parents to address the shooting. They discussed what happened and presented ideas they have to make the district safer. Parents also brought up concerns they have about the situation and how it was handled.
Police say they believe the 2nd-grade student brought a gun to school to show his classmates. According to Superintendent Christie Finley, the student pulled the weapon out of their bag in the bathroom, then it accidentally went off, hitting the student in the hand. Police also say that the student that brought the gun was the one injured.
Parents want answers:
While the superintendent commended the staff for the way they handled the shooting, "You were heroes yesterday. You are heroes every day," Superintendent Christie Finley said.
Many parents and even grandparents like Louise Carter have questions about how school officials alerted parents.
"My major concern was it happened at 10 a.m., like 10:40 a.m. something, but the parents didn't get contacted till 12:28 p.m.- 12:38 p.m.," Carter said.
Blossomwood Elementary School Principal Jamie Burton says that could have been handled better.
"I genuinely feel bad that we did not contact the parents of the kids that were in the closest proximity to the situation," Burton said.
Parents are also concerned with how the district disciplines students, who frequently disrupt classes.
"Teachers, discipline your students. If they are not doing the right thing there should be consequences for them," Finley said.
She has consulted with attorneys to tighten up disciplinary action for elementary students.
"And one of my things, I've consulted with legal is tightening up the elementary piece of the BLG so please know that is one thing I will do."
As for the students involved in the shooting?
"They are not at school and they will face consequences," the superintendent said.
Finley says she wants to create a safety task force made of parents and staff to determine the best course of action moving forward. The task force will make recommendations regarding any safety policy changes.
"Everything is on the table. We are considering all possible security measures whether it be the clear backpacks, metal detectors."
"Metal detectors, I think would be a good thing because you can't see what's under their clothing so that could pick it up. The clear backpack, if they start it, it would be better to start it at the beginning of the school year because see right now, you got parents that are on a set income, and they're not able to go out, and afford to buy new a new book bag," Carter said.
Finley says there is something parents can do now. She is asking parents to check their child's backpacks every day before they go to school.
Police Chief Mark McMurray is also encouraging students to say something if they see something. And it seems some students were doing just that Monday morning. He says when the shooting occurred, a group of students were in the process of reporting that there was a gun on campus.
In a letter to parents, Superintendent Finley said she was looking into creating a district-wide clear backpack policy. School board members say it could be several months for this change to take effect if the task force even approves it. Normally, it takes anywhere from four months to a year for the district to approve a new policy.