By Shawn Kirkpatrick
Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall presented the 2017 Alabama Safe Schools Initiative Award of Excellence to Opelika Middle School (OMS) at a ceremony yesterday. A panel of independent judges reviewed submissions from 47 Alabama schools. Winners were selected from each of the eight state school board districts, as well as private schools for each state region. OMS was the only school chosen in Lee County.
During the presentation, Marshall said he looked at other school’s proposals, but OMS shined above the rest. “Embracing safety is what is important at Opelika Middle School. Principal Keith York has made safety a priority at OMS,” Marshall said. “The teachers are well trained and there is a plan in place. You [the school] also effectively use social media to inform the community of events that are going on, so parents know what is happening within the school.”
Marshall also gave praise to the three school safety resource officers who protect the students and teachers. He thanked the students for embracing the idea that they are going to be safe and for sharing their concerns with teachers and administrators on any school day.
After receiving the award OMS Principal Keith York said it was an honor to receive the recognition. “On a day to day basis we practice drills and other proactive procedures,” York said4-4. “School safety isn’t just about an attack, but [also] severe weather or a fire drill. We take all of that into account. Many things play into safety.”
York also thanked the staff and faculty for their diligence every day to create a safe environment at the school. In closing he spoke of the school’s positive culture playing a role in the overall safety of students at school. “Our middle school mantra is, ‘be nice.’ That is pretty simple and we work hard at that every day.”
This is the second time Opelika Middle School has received the award.