Birmingham City Schools Superintendent Lisa Herring said the school system is reviewing security measures and protocols that were in place Wednesday, when Courtlin Arrington was fatally shot in a classroom at Huffman High School.
Video: Huffman High School junior charged in fatal shooting of classmate Courtlin Arrington
“We have not only heightened our procedures, but we are revamping and revisiting, with an extreme amount of urgency, those protocols, not just for Huffman High School, but for every single school in Birmingham,” Herring said at a news conference Thursday.
Video: Alabama high school student fatally shot in tragic accident – Daily Mail
Official: School metal detectors not in use day of Alabama shooting
The superintendent said Huffman has more than 43 entry points with a combination of wand and stationary metal detectors in place, but they were not in use Wednesday. She didn’t give details about why.
“Our hearts go out to the family of Ms. Arrington, all of her friends, and those whose lives would have been changed through her nursing dreams had this event not occurred,” the district attorney said in a statement. “This is a parents worst nightmare. We expect the charges will be heard through the court system and justice meted out to the person responsible.”
Herring said Arrington, a senior who had aspirations to be a nurse, was a bright student “lost to senseless gun violence.”
“She was friendly, energetic and well-liked by peers and teachers alike,” Herring said.
The shooting took place as class was dismissing for the day, killing Arrington and injuring another student. Police said Wednesday that it was possible the shooting was accidental, but they were reviewing video footage and interviewing witnesses to determine exactly what happened.
Police took a “person of interest” in the shooting into custody Thursday but did not identify the person because no formal charges have been filed.
“Charges are pending a review of the case by the Jefferson County District Attorney’s Office,” the police statement read.
Birmingham interim police Chief Orlando Wilson said Wednesday that investigators were reviewing the possibility that the firearm had accidentally discharged.
Huffman High School was closed Thursday. Security was being increased at all city schools. Just last week, as police and school officials investigated a reported threat at Huffman Middle School, a gun was found outside an entrance door, believed to have been left there as students prepared to be scanned and have their backpacks checked.
Iveys plan to pour millions of dollars into metal detectors for public schools sounds like a strong stance. However, there were functioning metal detectors at Huffman High School, but they were not being used.
Gov. Kay Ivey said she’s “praying for the family of this young lady who has tragically lost her life way too early. … It reaffirms that there is no place for students to have firearms or other weapons on campus.”
The shooting happened Wednesday as classes let out at the school, exactly three weeks after 17 people were gunned down at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High in Parkland, Fla. Another school shooting, at a Kentucky high school, killed two students and left 12 other people wounded in January. Students in Florida mourned for Arrington on Twitter and shared their condolences with Huffman High students, knowing all too well the grief of losing a classmate to a school shooting.
The shooting happened the day after Ivey created a school safety council to make recommendations on security in Alabama’s schools, including updated threat plans and training for students and staff on emergency situations.
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A state senator became emotional on the Alabama Senate floor Thursday as she discussed the shooting, which happened in the district she represents.
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“I can’t imagine a parent sending their child to school and that child never coming home. I can’t imagine what those children have gone through, not just in Huffman High School but all over this state,” state Sen. Linda Coleman-Madison said.
Alabama lawmakers have proposed multiple measures in response to last month’s killings of 17 people at a Florida high school. Republicans would arm either teachers or volunteer security forces in schools. Democrats would limit or ban the sale of assault weapons. All these proposals face a tight deadline before the end of Alabama’s legislative session this election year.
Another school shooting leads to another round of worthless responses. We hear how this shouldn’t happen in schools, it does. We hear how teachers shouldn’t have to worry about this, they do. The governor’s statement on this issue exemplifies how absolutely ridiculous this situation is:
“I’m saddened to learn of the death of the Huffman student. I’m praying for the family of this young lady who tragically lost her life way too early. Every life is precious and even though this was an accident it reaffirms there’s no place for students to have firearms on campus” (emphasis added).
Why this matters: Guns are already banned from this campus. They even have metal detectors and that did not stop a student from bringing a gun and “accidentally” shooting it twice (this has changed as police consider video evidence it may have been purposeful). There is ample evidence that we cannot keep guns out of schools when people are determined to bring them in.
It is time for leaders to accept this and give those who want to protect their students the ability to confront the matter.
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Allow teachers to carry — do it now. No more committees or hearings. Protect the schools.
— A 17-year-old student at Huffman High School in Birmingham is dead after a classmate got a gun in the school and shot her.
Alabama Shooter Charged With Manslaughter After Footage Reveals What Really Happened
— Huffman HS is a gun-free zone with metal detectors and school resource officers. An Alabama bill would allow other schools to spend money on these things.
— A majority of Americans oppose allowing teachers to carry, with 80 percent of Republicans supporting it and 86 percent of Democrats opposing it.
— 59 percent of parents with kids in school want the teachers to be allowed to carry.