Houston County School Board discusses armed security

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DOTHAN, AL (WTVY) Houston County Schools Superintendent David Sewell wants to provide armed guards at every school in the county. He presented the proposal to the Houston County Board of Education at a work session Monday night.

This proposal comes nearly a month after the Valentine's Day Mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, FL, where a gunman killed 17 students.

Most people at the meeting say they are on board, but realize it will take money.

"Locally, our school boards are strapped, and so if it's going to happen, it's gonna have to start at the state level," says Ashford High School Principal James Odom.

As part of her Smart on Safety Initiative, Governor Kay Ivey is supporting a Senate bill that would provide more funding for school security.

If passed, the bill would allow money from the school's technology fund to be used for school security.

Sewell says it would cost about $35,000 a month to provide armed guards to the 11 facilities. He says their technology fund only has enough money to fund the guards for 6 months.

Even then, they couldn't use the money from that fund until October of 2019.

Currently, Houston County has two school resource officers, but they must travel to different campuses.

In in the meantime, Rehobeth Elementary School Principal Greg Yance says they could do a better job of preparing students for a lock down.

"Make sure students are very comfortable with things that may happen... Maybe increasing the drills or making them a little more realistic are one of those steps we could be looking into possibly," said Yance.

Sewell will be in Montgomery on Thursday to talk with legislators about the funding.

The measure will be revisited by the board at a later date.