Note: This story was updated at 9:15 a.m. March 6.
An elementary school teacher in Clinton has been named to a school safety group formed by Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam.
Abbey Kidwell is a fourth-grade teacher at South Clinton Elementary School.
The working group was announced by Haslam on Monday. It includes leaders from the state government’s executive branch, Tennessee General Assembly, and those who work in safety, education, and mental health. The group will immediately begin reviewing school safety in Tennessee and provide recommendations to enhance the security of school children, a press release said.
“While all schools in Tennessee currently have safety plans in place, the Governor’s School Safety Working Group will convene this week to review the policies, procedures, and process of developing and implementing those plans, as well as other school safety measures, including communication and collaboration among law enforcement, educators, and mental health professionals,” the press release said.
“All children in Tennessee deserve to learn in a safe and secure environment and I am asking this working group to move quickly in making practical recommendations that we can implement in the coming weeks and months to help increase the safety of our children,” Haslam said. “The review will be wide ranging but include specific items, such as entry to and exit from schools, training and availability of school resource officers, and in-school mental health resources for students.”
Haslam expects to have the first recommendations from the working group before the end of the legislative session, the press release said.
Kidwell was previously selected to serve on the Governor’s Teacher Cabinet; she was one of 18 teachers appointed in 2015.
The Governor’s School Safety Working Group announced on Monday will be chaired by Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security Commissioner David Purkey, and it includes the following additional members:
- Greg Adams, chief operating officer, Office of the Governor
- Senator Paul Bailey
- Representative David Byrd
- Senator Dolores Gresham
- Sheriff John Fuson, Montgomery County Sheriff’s Department
- Mike Herrmann, executive director of Conditions for Learning, Department of Education
- Sergeant Jeff Hicks, school resource officer supervisor, Blount County Sheriff’s Office
- Lieutenant General Keith Huber, U.S. Army, Retired
- Abbey Kidwell, teacher, South Clinton Elementary School, Clinton City Schools
- Candice McQueen, commissioner, Department of Education
- Cindy Minnis, school psychologist, Metro Nashville Public Schools
- Jack Parton, superintendent, Sevier County Schools
- Altha Stewart, University of Tennessee, incoming president of American Psychiatric Association
- Sonia Stewart, principal, Pearl-Cohn Entertainment Magnet High School, Metro Nashville Public Schools
- Marie Williams, commissioner, Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services
- Representative Ryan Williams
More information will be added as it becomes available.
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