ATHENS, Ala. (WHNT) — Governor Ivey delivered the keynote address at a State of the State luncheon for the Athens-Limestone County Chamber of Commerce on Thursday.

In her address, Ivey commended Limestone County for contributing to recent economic growth for North Alabama and touted the state’s low unemployment rate.

“Limestone County is a shining example of success in our state,” she said. “We’ve once again reached a record low unemployment, with a 2.5% rate.”

The governor said in 2021, several industries saw growth. She listed “distribution, automotive, metals, IT, agricultural and food parks” as growing industries.

After her address, Ivey answered two questions from members of the media. News 19 asked her what Alabama is doing to protect children from gun violence while in schools, in wake of 19 students and two teachers being killed at a school in Texas earlier this week.

The Governor mentioned the SAFE Council which was implemented by Executive Order 713 in 2018.

“We appointed the SAFE council to give us recommendations of what we could do in schools to make them safe and keep them safe,” Ivey stated.

The SAFE Council is composed of the Alabama State Superintendent of Education, the Chancellor of the Alabama Community College System, the Secretary of Law Enforcement, the Secretary of Information Technology, and the Commissioner of the Alabama Department of Mental Health.

In 2018, it released a report, outlining 10 recommendations for safer schools in Alabama.

Those recommendations are:

  1. Funding for School Resource Officers/District Safety Coordinators
  2. Bond Issue for Enhancing School Building Security
  3. Surveillance Systems Linked to Law Enforcement
  4. School-Based Mental Health
  5. Identifying Warning Signs
  6. Reporting Threats
  7. Tracking School Violence
  8. Empowered and Accountable District Safety Coordinators
  9. Building a Culture of Safety
  10. School Safety Training and Compliance Teams

Governor Ivey said “most” of the recommendations have “already been implemented, but we’re still reviewing them.”

She said, “We’re very conscious about school safety, because students and parents got to feel like they are safe when they go to school, or else they can’t learn.”

The Governor released a single tweet earlier this week with her statement in regard to the recent Texas elementary school shooting. News 19 has also reached out to other officials in wake of the shooting.

Continuous coverage of horrific events like mass shootings can take a toll on people. Click here to read about local and national mental health resources that are available.