Alabama governor wants principals to keep weapons on campus


MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) – Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey wants school principals and other administrators to be able to access a weapon stored on campus.

Ivey on Wednesday announced her implementation of a “School Sentry Program.” It will allow administrators in schools that do not have a law enforcement officer on campus to access a weapon kept in a fingerprint-controlled safe.

Ivey’s office said the program is voluntary and school systems can decide whether to participate. The Alabama Law Enforcement Agency will oversee training.

It’s wasn’t immediately clear Thursday how many of Alabama’s public schools lack school resource officers and would therefore be eligible to arm administrators. A spokesman for the state education agency said it was trying to determine how many schools don’t have such protection.

The Alabama Association of School Boards said that while having trained school resource officers is the “optimal first line of defense” and arming school personnel isn’t a long-term solution, it recognizes Ivey’s desire to move quickly to protect children.

“The Alabama Sentry program appears to be a reasonable, interim solution with some sensible safeguards until the legislature can address this issue and identify a long-term plan to fund SROs,” Sally Smith, executive director of the association, said in the statement.

A school safety task force had recommended putting more officers in schools. Ivey said she supports that, but said the “sentry” program will provide protection meanwhile.

A proposal to allow teachers to carry guns did not pass in this year’s legislative session.