OPELIKA, Ala.- Opelika High School student Frank Wright is thankful he’s able to concentrate on his school work, instead of worrying about his safety.
“Not feeling safe can be a distraction. If I want to learn and get my education and I don’t feel safe, that affects me as a student,” says Wright.
He watched on as Opelika High was awarded the 2015 Safe School Initiative Award of Excellence, presented by Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange.
It recognizes schools that take the extra initiative to keep it’s students safe, especially with recent emergencies happening at schools across the country.
“Given the Newtown disaster, given natural disasters, like tornadoes and other things, school safety is on the minds of every parents in our state. All teachers feel the same way,” Attorney General Strange told News 3.
Opelika High is one of 7 schools in the state to receive this award. They’ve applied for it in the past years, but this is the first time that they have won.
One initiative being recognized at Opelika High School–the heavy presence of SRO Officers at the school. Officer Jeff Fuller says having 3 officers assigned to the school makes a difference.
Officer Fuller says, “They allow us to get comfortable with the kids and have the kids comfortable with us. The kids are going to talk to us if they’re used to seeing us and seeing us in the hallways, they’re more apt to talk to us about a problem going on.”
It’s all part of an effort to keep the students comfortable.
“You don’t realize the amount of effort it takes to have a school that’s really that safe and the fact that we have this award is great,” says Wright.
Lakeside School in Barbour County was another school in our area to receive the award.