Superintendent: Mental health laws needed for safe campuses

DOTHAN, Ala. (WTVY) -Students will return to class perhaps tense beyond normal first day jitters.

Who can blame them?

School violence has erupted in the most unlikely places including Uvalde, Texas on May 24.

“I think it got us on our toes,” Houston County Superintendent Brandy White said of the shooting that killed 21.

There have been more than 100 U.S. school shootings in the past two years.

White believes one thing more than any other is to blame for the violence epidemic.

“When you look back at all those school shootings (there’s) been a mental health problem in almost every case,” he said.

White supports laws giving school officials authority to act against those who they believe pose danger—before violence happens.

Proposed laws could be considered the Alabama Legislature, though it doesn’t meet again until February.

Some states are considering “red flag” laws to help identify threats.

Campus security is at the forefront.

Mobile County, Alabama’s largest school system, is mulling its own police force.

For White, he mobilized active shooter training for employees and relies on school resource officers to keep his four campuses safe.

“And our sheriff’s office is going to come out each month and do a (safety) assessment at every school,” White said.

He praises parents for their school engagement and takes solace knowing that Houston County has employed a mental health expert to support its school counselors.

August 9 is the first day of school.

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