(MONTGOMERY)—Attorney General Troy King will be presenting the Alabama Safe Schools 2009 Awards of Excellence during visits to 11 schools throughout the state during the next few weeks. The schools to receive this honor are Greenville High School, in Butler County; Cedar Ridge Middle School, Chestnut Grove Elementary School, Brookhaven Middle School, all in Morgan County; Blountsville Elementary School, in Blount County; Honeysuckle Middle School in Houston County; Prattville High School, in Autauga County; Oak Mountain Middle School in Shelby County; Fairhope High School, Central Baldwin Middle School, both in Baldwin County; and Hoover High School, in Jefferson County.
“We are reminded of the need for continued vigilance, as we recall the alarming instances of recent violence in our nation’s schools,” said Attorney General King. “While these events are deeply disturbing to us, I am reassured by the commitment exhibited by these schools in Alabama to keep our children safe in the face of the severe challenges we face today. In my own days as a young student, I remember the stress of trying to make good grades and of dealing with classes and classmates. Thankfully, we were spared the stress of shootings that killed and maimed students and teachers, and we did not have to worry about such horror happening at our schools. We must work together to do everything possible to protect our children from these dangers and fears.” He praised Alabama’s schools, particularly the upcoming award recipients, proclaiming that their students “no longer have to worry about what your school will do. Your school is prepared, and good preparation leads to prevention.”
Attorney General King noted Alabama's progress statewide to protect schoolchildren and teachers. "For the past nine years, the Office of Attorney General has sponsored the Alabama Safe Schools Initiative. Following the nation's worst incident of violence on school property at Columbine High School in Colorado, the Alabama Departments of Education and Public Safety worked with my office to provide the state's public and private schools with resources that would help them create a team of community resources and expertise that are, in my opinion, crucial to school safety efforts."
The Alabama Safe Schools Initiative began its presentations of Awards of Excellence in 2002. Some recipients of the Alabama Safe Schools 2009 Awards of Excellence also received awards in previous years and are recognized again for their continued outstanding achievements. The Attorney General’s Office will present Sustained Performance Awards of Excellence to Blountsville Elementary School, previous winner of the Safe School Award for 2005 and 2007; Brookhaven Middle School, previous winner of the Safe School Award for 2008; Cedar Ridge Middle School, previous winner of the Safe School Award for 2008; Greenville High School, previous winner of the Safe School Award for 2005, 2006, 2007, and 2008; and Prattville High School, previous winner of the Safe School Award for 2007 and 2008.
Attorney General King commended the members of his staff who have worked tirelessly for the Alabama Safe Schools Initiative, noting particularly Director of Constituent Affairs and State Programs Keith Young. He also thanked ALFA and the Alabama Farmers Federation, who have provided funding for the Alabama Safe School Initiative Awards of Excellence since its beginning.
The Alabama Safe School Initiative has worked to assist schools in their safety efforts for many years. In August of 2000, the program distributed to all public and private schools standardized school emergency crisis notebooks to provide uniform guidelines for use in preparing their own emergency response plans. A toll-free Alabama Safe Schools hotline (1-888-SAV-KIDS) was implemented in April of 1999 as a way for students and adults to anonymously alert officials about potential crisis situations. The Alabama Safe Schools Initiative used the slogan "Prevent School Violence: It's Cool to Make the Call" to promote the hotline through public service announcements, billboard advertisements, book covers and posters.
In addition, the Attorney General's Office hosted a statewide conference for training school and community officials to create an integrated crisis management plan. Later, at an intensive national workshop on school safety preparedness, education workers, parents, law enforcement officers, and others were trained to return to the communities and teach others how to effectively handle a crisis situation.
Attorney General King will present the Alabama Safe Schools 2009 Awards of Excellence at the following times and places:
• 1:30 p.m., Monday, September 14, at Greenville High School
• 9:00 a.m., Wednesday, September 16, at Cedar Ridge Middle School
• 1:30 p.m., Wednesday, September 16, at Chestnut Grove Elementary School
• 9:00 a.m., Thursday, September 17, at Blountsville Elementary School
• 1:30 p.m., Monday, September 21, at Honeysuckle Middle School
• 9:00 a.m., Thursday, September 24, at Brookhaven Middle School
• 9:30 a.m., Friday, September 25, at Prattville High School
• 9:00 a.m., Monday, September 28, at Oak Mountain Middle School
• 8:45 a.m., Tuesday, September 29, at Fairhope High School
• 1:30 p.m., Tuesday, September 29, at Central Baldwin Middle School
• 9:00 a.m., Wednesday, September 30, at Hoover High School
“We honor the hard work of these students, staff, parents, and administrators of these schools, and recognize their efforts to prepare themselves to deal with an emergency situation,” said Attorney General King. “On behalf of the Attorney General’s Office and the State of Alabama, I commend the outstanding efforts of these schools and their communities. They stand as an example and inspiration as we work together to make schools safe for all of Alabama’s students.”