Birmingham City Schools Superintendent: Metal detectors “not in use” at Huffman High before shooting

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UPDATE FRIDAY, MARCH 9, 2018: The Jefferson County District Attorney Mike Anderton announced charges were filed against 17-year-old Michael Jerome Barber in the death of Courtlin Arrington. Click here to read the full report.

Birmingham City Schools held a press conference at 3 p.m. on Thursday to provide an update on the district’s response to Wednesday’s shooting at Huffman High School.

During the conference, Birmingham City Schools Superintendent Dr. Lisa Herring offered condolences to the family of Courtlin Lashawn Arrington, the student killed in yesterday’s incident.

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

Herring then went on to explain the system’s response to the conditions that could have led to the shooting. 

“Yesterday, although we have metal detectors here in Huffman High School, our metal detectors were not in use,” Herring said.

Besides the metal detectors, Herring pointed out other measures that the school had looked into.

“We are examining the efficiency of the protocols and procedures that were executed yesterday,” Herring said. “And as superintendent, I can articulate to you that we have not only heightened our procedures, but we are revamping and revisiting with an extreme amount of urgency those protocols, not just for Huffman High School, but for every single school in Birmingham City Schools.”

Herring also outlined her goals for the future of the Birmingham City School system and its 23,000 students. 

“It is our goal to become a national model for school safety. It is what we must do. It is what we have to do. It is what we are doing,” Herring said. 

In collaboration with BPD, BCS is working to identify opportunities to enhance student safety. In addition to school SRO’s, police officers will be on HHS campus in the coming days, and provide support in and out of the school.

As Herring signed off, she mentioned that the system was also relying on students to join the effort to keep students safe. 

“We will promote use of a BCS safety line, where students will be encouraged to report what they know, hear or suspect when harm is being planned. All callers will be anonymous and messages may be left by way of voice or text message.”

The BCS Safety Line can be reached by calling or texting 1-877-250-2830.

Huffman itself is closed today as officials work to secure resources for students on Friday, according to information provided by the district yesterday. The school is not finished with efforts to remember the student lost in yesterday’s incident, however. 

“We are not removed from the fact that Courtlin Arrington, our student, our aspiring nurse, is no longer with us.,” Herring said. “On March 14, during the National School Walkout, we will not only honor the 17 lives lost in the shooting in Parkland Florida, but we will also take an additional minute to honor the life of Courtlin Arrington. We will move from 17 minutes to 18 minutes in her honor.”

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