MEMPHIS, Tenn.– As we move into a new school year with heightened awareness, Tennessee Governor Bill Lee issued a video address Tuesday talking about steps taken in the state he says will keep students and staff safer.
This comes months after he signed an executive order that calls for the state to evaluate school security measures.
During the address, Lee laid out key points about enhancing safety in schools including parent engagement, physically securing schools, and partnering with law enforcement.
“Throughout the summer, state and local law enforcement has collaborated to provide proven, hands-on active shooter training courses in each of our three grand divisions. We’ve also provided training to more than 600 school resource officers,” Lee said.
Lee also said Tennessee Highway Patrol Troopers are building stronger relationships with local school leadership.
“They’re also doing more frequent, unannounced checks to see that school doors latch and precautions are in place,” Lee said.
Keith Williams, Executive Director of the Memphis Shelby County Education Association who is also an incoming school board member, said while safety is a top priority, it’s crucial teachers aren’t given even more tasks.
“We have to teach children but we have to teach children that we can manage. We recognize their deficits and try to strengthen them but we are not doctors and police officers and lawyers and teachers and parents, we are teachers,” Williams said. “We do want a safe, wholesome environment but we’re going to have to depend more on the family, more on the church, more on the community to control the behaviors of children.”
The governor also talked about expanded mental health and crisis resources and the Safe TN App, a free resource to quickly and confidentially report safety concerns at your child’s school.