Superintendent pledges to beef-up security, school safety policy at Birmingham schools

Birmingham City Schools Superintendent Dr. Lisa Herring pledged to re-evaluate school safety policies and increase security and the use of metal detectors at Birmingham schools during a press conference at Huffman High School Thursday–just 24 hours after one student was fatally shot and another injured after gunfire erupted at the school.

Courtlin Arrington, a 17-year-old senior at Huffman High, was shot while school was dismissing Wednesday afternoon. She died while being transported to UAB Hospital.

Another student was also injured by the gunfire and is being held in police custody.

During the press conference Thursday, Herring said she has already requested additional metal detectors for Birmingham City Schools.

There are currently two metal detectors at Huffman High School, but they were not in use Wednesday, she said.

Three school resource officers were on campus Wednesday when the shooting happened, but Strategy and Communications Officer Adrienne Mitchell said she could not say where the SROs were when the gunfire began Wednesday.

Herring also announced students can anonymously report school threats or concerns by calling 1-877-250-2830. Students can leave voice messages or text messages.

“Our goal to become a national model for school safety. It is what we have to do,” she said. “We have more than 23,000 students at Birmingham City Schools. When one of them are harmed, all are impacted.”

During the National School Walkout March 14, Birmingham students will stand outside for 18 minutes instead of 17, in memory of Courtlin Arrington along with the 17 students lost at the school shooting in Parkland, Florida, Herring said.

“We have lost one of our brightest and best scholars, Courtland Arrington to senseless gun violence,” she said.

School officials confirmed Thursday afternoon that an unloaded gun was found in a student locker at Bush Hills Academy in southwest Birmingham. 

The principal at Bush Hills, which is a K-8 school, conducted an unannounced locker check and found the gun in an athletic bag in a locker. Two eighth-grade students were identified in connection with the incident and were suspended from the school. 

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