In an attempt to better protect the students, faculty and staff at each school in St. Clair County, a School Safety Summit was held at St. Clair County High School in Odenville Monday.

Local law enforcement agencies, fire departments, EMA officials, school principals, staff and central office personnel were on hand for the summit. More than 60 people attended.

Guest speakers included Donny Bynum, superintendent of Dale County Schools, who was recently named Alabama School Superintendent of the Year.

Bynum discussed at length the kidnapping of a student and the murder of a bus driver in Midland City in Dale County in January 2013.

Bynum played the tape of the 911 call a 15-year-old student made describing what happened that fatal day.

“Safety for our students and staff is always the number one priority in St. Clair County,” said St. Clair County Schools Superintendent Jenny Seals.

“Therefore we must be proactive in all areas of safety. I believe when kids feel safe at school, then learning will take place.”

Seals was excited about the first School Safety Summit.

“We had incredible speakers to speak and bring more targeted knowledge on the subject of safety to our administrators and staff. It was very beneficial to all who attended.”

EMA executive director Ellen Tanner said the St. Clair County School officials did a good job putting the important event together.

“This was very helpful to the communities, and was totally for the safety of our students,” Tanner said. “This will help us all to be more aware, better trained, and have a better response time in making sure our students stay safe.”

Tanner said active shooter response was only one area discussed at the summit.

Other guest speakers included St. Clair County Undersheriff Billy Murray, Cpl. Pam Revels with the Lee County Sheriff’s Office concerning substance abuse, and Jacob Cook with Virtual Alabama concerning video cameras. 

Greg Cobb, administrator of instruction for the St. Clair County School System, said the summit was of the utmost importance.

“We are a blessed school system to work with a sheriff’s department and local police and fire departments who are dedicated to planning and being proactive about our children’s safety while at school,” Cobb said. “As school leaders, we do all we can to protect our students as if they were our very own children. Violence will not be tolerated in St. Clair County Schools, and we will work very hard to prevent it.”