Opelika Middle School earns safety award from Alabama Attorney General

OPELIKA, AL (WTVM) -   Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall walked the halls of Opelika Middle School after awarding the school with excellence in the safe school initiative in Alabama for the second year in a row.

This year, times across the nation are different following the call for safer school grounds.

The yellowhammer state's attorney general says the school resource officers and relationship with the Opelika Police Department is what is setting the middle school apart from other schools across the state.

"School resource officers are the lynchpin of any school safety program," said Marshall. "We encourage a robust school resource officer program around the state."

The attorney general said the middle school has opened doors for the police department to do extensive training inside the school.

"Being proactive and taking a positive approach to it, we work on many things with our students and staff," said Keith York, the principal of Opelika Middle.

Administration wouldn't go into what exactly the training entails, but students say it prepares them for the unexpected.

"If something were to happen, the teachers and students would know what to do," said Opelika Middle student, Alec Parker.

"We practice lockdowns so now I feel safer on what to do if something does happen," replied student Susan Gaston.

Administration had a swift response back in March to incidents where a middle school student dropped an unloaded BB gun on a school bus and when a threat was made via social media against another student.

"Our efforts are ongoing as the things we do and put in place to keep our school safe and to have a great learning culture for our kids and teachers as well," said York.

The Alabama Attorney General called for other schools across the state to use Opelika Middle and other schools awarded as the standard of safety for school grounds.

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