Tuscaloosa City Schools and the Tuscaloosa Police Department met Friday to discuss and implement additional safety measures to prepare for the new school year.

Dr. Mike Daria, the superintendent of TCS, said conversations and trainings with TPD have taken place all summer to prepare schools for providing safety for students all year.

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"The focus of the meeting was to talk about the adjustments that we've made through the course of this summer to our emergency operation plans, receive ongoing training and information from Tuscaloosa Police Department specific to school safety and specific to this school year," Daria said. "Our police officers are working directly with our leaders in reviewing our school safety plans so that we can prepare for a great year ahead of us."

Major Heath Clark with TPD and Daria said everyone plays a large role in keeping and maintaining school safety.

"School school safety is not just a job for Dr. Daria and his team and it's not just our job. It's a civic responsibility," Clark said. "We live in a community we create as individuals so the students need to understand that if something's dangerous or you know, they feel threatened and they need to be able to come in and communicate that with someone. Parents need to be able to confront their children and be able to direct them."

Daria said, "Our best prevention is 'see something, say something' and we encourage our parents and our students to really help us by doing that."

According to a release from TCS, safety is a top priority for the district and in conjunction with TPD, the school district is constantly re-evaluating plans and procedures to ensure they are up-to-date and facilities are secure as possible.

"We regularly conduct safety audits of our facilities, have regular safety meetings, and examine new technology that we might utilize to ensure our plans are the best possible in terms of keeping our schools safe," Tuscaloosa City Schools spokesperson Lydia Avant said in the release.

As previously reported by the Tuscaloosa Thread, TCS took extra steps to have more officers present by increasing the pay for contracted officers in June.

The release also stated TCS is in the process of hiring a new full-time School Safety Specialist, a newly created position. The person in this role will work with all school resource officers, TCS administrators and TPD to ensure schools are as safe and secure as possible.

The 2022-2023 school year will resume on Wednesday, August 10.

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