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Friday, December 1, 2023

School leaders, resource officers react to guns on campuses

ALABAMA (WHNT) — On Wednesday, guns were found on two different North Alabama campuses and school officials and law enforcement agree campus safety needs to be taken seriously.

Those two instances of guns being found on school grounds are not related. A gun was found in its case in the parking lot of Cotaco School in Morgan County. That same day, authorities arrested a student at Muscle Shoals Middle School after finding a handgun in a bag of Halloween candy.

“I’m sure there are more incidents of these types of situations than there was say ten years ago, but I also think you’re seeing a response from school systems that you might not have seen say ten years ago,” Muscle Shoals City Schools Superintendent Chad Holden said.

Muscle Shoals City Schools recently implemented additional safety measures with state grant money. The district added a new visitor check-in system and more security cameras and school resource officers, but school leaders want to remind parents and guardians to also do their part.

“Children’s access to firearms is something that we have to take more seriously. And I hope the charges that were brought in this particular case sends a loud and clear message about having this in place to restrict children’s access to firearms, particularly the younger they are,” Holden said.

The Morgan County Sheriff’s Office, which provides SROs for the Morgan County School District, says the protocols schools have in place are working.

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“What we have now is a situation where we have to allow the system to work the way the system is supposed to and then continue to evaluate the system and make upgrades that are needed,” Mike Swafford, a spokesperson for the Morgan County Sheriffs Office said.

Officials say the parent involved in the Muscle Shoals Middle School incident was charged with endangering the welfare of the child. They say the parents had knowledge that the child had the gun and were allowing it.

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