School starts back on Monday for students who attend Huntsville City Schools, and safety is on the minds of many of those students’ parents. WAAY 31 talked with parents and students about what they’re looking forward to the most with the new school year starting up, and we wanted to know what kind of safety measures they hope to see in place. Some parents told WAAY 31 they spent the last day of summer thinking about nothing but their children’s safety, while their children focused on what starting school means for them.
We asked several Huntsville students what they're most excited about. “Math and recess and reading," said Leo Thornton, soon-to-be third grader. "Going to first grade and I’m going to see all my teachers," added Carla Barbee. "I'm most excited about going to the park and playing outside and getting friends," Colton Holder said about starting Kindergarten. But the kids aren't the only ones ready for school to start.
“Just the fact that he’s learning, meeting new people, new friends, new environment, getting to interact," said Matt Holder, who is 5-year-old Colton's dad. When WAAY 31 asked Holder about Colton's safety at this new school, he told us that was his number one concern. "That’s the most important thing—most important thing! I can’t express how important it is," he said. "It worries me.”When WAAY 31 asked Holder why it worried him, he mentioned the school shootings that have happened across our nation. "You never know when it could happen," he said. "Some kid could go crazy.”
So, we asked Holder about different safety precautions and wanted to know what would make him more comfortable when sending his son to school. "Arming teachers? No. There shouldn’t be not a dang pistol one. You don’t need guns at school," he said. "Okay to an officer. They might need a cop or two, depending on the size of the school, walking around, patrolling. That’s it. Metal detectors, yeah, I could agree with that, but that’s as far as they need to go with it.”
More importantly, we wanted to hear from Colton and other Huntsville students. When we asked them if they were ever scared at school. Leo answered with, "No, ma'am," while Carla said, "I never feel scared because I don't want to get scared. It's like if I have nightmares, I don't get scared." But Colton had a different answer. He said, "I’m scared that people are going to break in the school and start shooting on it. I’m scared.”
Whether your child is one who is scared or not, officials with Huntsville City Schools assure us that they have specially-trained school resource officers who are ready to protect your children throughout the school year. Huntsville City Schools also told us their staff has spent the summer working with local and federal authorities to make sure the buildings are secure.