Haslam forms working group to review school safety

Staff Reports • Updated Mar 6, 2018 at 11:00 AM

NASHVILLE – Gov. Bill Haslam announced Monday he formed a working group of leaders from the executive branch, General Assembly, safety, education and mental health to begin a review of school safety in Tennessee and provide recommendations to enhance the security of school children.

While all schools in Tennessee currently have safety plans in place, the Governor’s School Safety Working Group will convene this week to review the policies, procedures and process to develop and implement 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 include 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 legislative session.

The Governor’s School Safety Working Group will be chaired by Department of Safety and Homeland Security Commissioner David Purkey and includes Greg Adams, chief operating officer for the office of the governor; state Sen. Paul Bailey; state Rep. David Byrd; state Sen. Dolores Gresham; Montgomery County Sheriff John Fuson; Mike Herrmann, executive director of conditions for learning with the state Department of Education; Sgt. Jeff Hicks, school resource officer supervisor with the Blount County Sheriff’s Office; retired U.S. Army Lt. Gen. Keith Huber, U.S. Army; teacher Abbey Kidwell with South Clinton Elementary School; Candice McQueen, commissioner of the state Department of Education; Cindy Minnis, school psychologist with Metro Nashville Public Schools; Jack Parton, superintendent of Sevier County Schools; Altha Stewart, University of Tennessee incoming president of American Psychiatric Association; Sonia Stewart,  principal at Pearl-Cohn Entertainment Magnet High School; Marie Williams, commissioner of the state Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services; and state Rep. Ryan Williams.

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