Governor Bill Haslam announced on Monday that he has formed a working group of leaders from the executive branch, General Assembly, safety, education and mental health to immediately begin reviewing 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 of developing and implementing 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,” Governor 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.”
GovernorHaslam 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 the following additional members:
· Greg Adams, Chief Operating Officer, Office of the Governor
· Senator Paul Bailey
· Rep. David Byrd
· Senator Dolores Gresham
· Sheriff John Fuson, Montgomery County Sheriff’s Department
· Mike Herrmann, executive director of Conditions for Learning, Department of Education
· Sgt. Jeff Hicks, School Resource Officer Supervisor, Blount County Sheriff’s Office
· Lt. Gen. Keith Huber, U.S. Army, Retired
· Abbey Kidwell, teacher, South Clinton Elementary School, Clinton City Schools
· Candice McQueen, commissioner, Department of Education
· Cindy Minnis, 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
· Rep. Ryan Williams