Bailey is named to new School Safety Working Group
By Bobby Lee McCulley | March 8, 2018 6:56 am
State Senator Paul Bailey, of White County, was recently named to a new task force with a mission of providing recommendations to Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam about school safety measures and improvements that can be made across the state’s public schools to reduce the risk of school shootings.
Haslam announced March 5 that he has formed a working group of leaders from the executive branch, the General Assembly, and the safety, education, and mental health departments to immediately begin reviewing school safety in Tennessee and provide recommendations to enhance security.
In the wake of the Kentucky and Florida school shooting incidents that claimed the lives of 19 and wounded countless others, serious questions are being raised about school safety. Concerned parents, guardians, and community members, have asked school administrators across the country, including in Tennessee, what safeguards are in place or have been taken to ensure the safety of students.
While all schools in Tennessee now have safety plans in place, Haslam has developed a new task force called the Governor’s School Safety Working Group. This group of leaders will convene this week to review the policies and procedures and process the development and implementation of those plans, as well as other school safety measures, including communication and collaboration among law enforcement, educators, and mental health professionals.
“All children in Tennessee deserve to learn in a safe and secure environment, and I am asking this working group to move quickly in making practical recommendations that we can implement in the coming weeks and months to help increase the safety of our children,” Haslam said. “The review will be wide-ranging but includes specific items, such as entry to and exit from schools, training and availability of school resource officers, and in-school mental health resources for students.”
Haslam expects to have the first recommendations from the working group before the end of the this year’s legislative session.
The Governor’s School Safety Working Group will be chaired by Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security Commissioner David Purkey. In addition to Bailey, the group includes:
-Greg Adams, governor’s chief operating officer
-Rep. Ryan Williams
-Rep. David Byrd
-Sen. Dolores Gresham
-Sheriff John Fuson, Montgomery County Sheriff Department
-Mike Herrmann, Tennessee Department of Education, director of conditions for learning
-Sgt. Jeff Hicks, school resource officer supervisor, Blount County Sheriff Department
-Lt. Gen. Keith Huber, U.S. Army, retired
-Abbey Kidwell, teacher, South Clinton Elementary School, Clinton city schools
-Candice McQueen, commissioner, department of education
-Dr. Cindy Minnis, lead school psychologist, Metro Nashville public schools
-Dr. Jack Parton, superintendent, Sevier County schools
-Dr. Altha Stewart, University of Tennessee, incoming president of American Psychiatric Association
-Dr. Sonia Stewart, principal, Pearl-Cohn Entertainment Magnet High School, Metro Nashville public schools
-Marie Williams, commissioner, department of mental health and substance abuse services