Tuscaloosa City Schools leaders reaffirm commitment to safety

As the nation mourns the murder of 19 children and two teachers at the hands of a school shooter in Uvalde, Texas, leaders of Tuscaloosa City Schools reevaluate their plans for safety and security.

Tuscaloosa City Schools Superintendent Mike Daria said safety “is a value more than a priority” in his school system, which educates almost 11,000 students across 21 schools.

“It’s something that we hold dear and that means we have to put planning and resources behind that value,” Daria said.

According to The Washington Post, there have been 24 school shootings since the beginning of the year, and 331 incidents of gun violence on K-12 campuses since the start of the century.

In times like these, Daria said, the system will review its plans, ensuring it has infrastructure and training in place to make sure the system’s schools are safe. Those measures include training for faculty and students, he said.

Daria has already been fielding worried emails and calls from parents and teachers who are suggesting improvements to TCS’ safety plan, and system leaders are discussing the possibility of bringing in full-time police officers who would be stationed at schools throughout the year with the mayor and chief of police.

But for Daria, that’s not quite enough. Stricter gun laws are also a priority.

“We should not be in places where guns are entering schools,” he said. “We can fortify our schools. We can have all these things in place, but we really need reform that matters and will make a difference for our community and our country.”

Parent Brittney Dent said she is satisfied with the system’s efforts to keep her children safe in the classroom. Though she considered homeschooling her son, who is a straight-A student, Dent said her work schedule would prevent him from receiving the full benefits.

“I truly feel like children need that time at school,” she said. “We have a great home life, but they need that one-on-one time with teachers to get their grades going.”

School security and safety measures are being discussed for when children return to school in the fall.

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