Published 8:56 pm Thursday, January 9, 2020

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

Pleasant Home School was awarded the 2019 Alabama Safe School award for Alabama Board of Education District 1 yesterday by State Attorney General Steve Marshall.

PHS is the first Covington County recipient in the award’s 20-year existence.

“A lot of this comes down to not only our leadership but our resource officer, Sgt. Schneider and also our teachers, faculty and students,” PHS principal Craig Nichols said. “We have had some instances where teachers will call us and say that they have seen somebody on campus that is not normal like they don’t have a visitor badge. The teacher reports it and we investigate it and thank goodness most of the time that is just an oversight. That is part of all of the things that go into this safety plan. We get together with our community members, sheriff’s department and EMA director so we can find a way to best address safety issues.”

Nichols said the award shows that PHS is looking for things every day to improve their safety plan.

“We are very proud of this award,” Nichols said. “Every day, we are looking for good things and for things that don’t work out so well so we can go back and change things.”

Marshall said the award was created after the shooting in Columbine.

“We do everything that we can to keep the community safe,” Marshall said. “We want to do the best that we can to stop the bad things from happening to begin with. There was a terrible situation that took place in Colorado many years ago where young people lost their lives and now myself and others made a commitment to not only do we not want what happened in Columbine to take place in Alabama, we want to equip schools in ways that it would keep young people safe because the idea is pretty simple. If you feel safe here and your teachers feel comfortable here, you have an opportunity to learn.”

One of the reasons why PHS was awarded the honor, Marshall said, was because Schneider is an integral part of PHS’ safety plan.

“What I know about law enforcement is that when Sgt. Schneider left for work today, he is willing to risk his life for anyone of you,” Marshall said. “The commitment that he has made to protect and serve is to stand in the way of danger. He runs towards it to keep you kids safe. Unlike anyone else in the room, your families know that you are going to come home, Sgt. Schneider’s family doesn’t have that same opportunity, because last year, we lost seven law enforcement officers in the line of duty.”

The teachers and staff are another reason why PHS received the award, Marshall said.

“They embraced the idea that this place being safe is important,” Marshall said. “The fact that you bought into a very detailed and specific and meaningful plan, means that not only do we have something on paper, but that it is a part of the school.”