Alabama’s six-day school violence report as of Sept. 13: Gang rape at Russell County High School, knife fight at Bessemer’s Jess Lanier High School, and shots fired at Vigor High School in Mobile.
State school superintendent Ed Richardson gave that report as a legislative panel on school violence prevention made recommendations to Gov. Don Siegelman.
To help prevent violence in schools, the panel recommended exposing young teen-agers to classroom instruction on self control and anger management.
The recommendations also include employing school resource officers at middle schools and high schools, involving school counselors in more nonacademic counseling, and enlisting the help of social workers.
The Joint Interim Legislative Committee on School Violence has held public hearings since it was organized last year.
The chairman, Sen. Ted Little, D-Auburn, said the panel learned that students, parents, and school personnel must communicate to help prevent violence.
“We know we have enough laws on the record books,” Little said.
The panel recommended one law: Allow schools access to juvenile criminal records for the protection of the school where a delinquent juvenile attends.
Siegelman, Attorney General Bill Pryor, and House Speaker Seth Hammett, D-Andalusia, accepted copies of the recommendations from a 17-year-old student described by Little as a “man who has turned his life around.”
Corey Zeigler, a Sidney Lanier High School junior expelled in 1998 when he was caught carrying a box cutter, gave them copies of the report at a Capitol news conference.
Zeigler said after he was expelled for the year, he was placed in detention for a week and took part in several juvenile offender programs. He said discussing violence prevention and equipping schools with metal detectors “will help.”
In the rape at Russell County High School, authorities charged four students in what they described as a planned, locker-room attack before a Friday night football game. Three of the four teen-agers were charged as adults.
Two girls involved in a Sept. 11 knife fight at Jess Lanier High School were suspended, and shots were fired Sept. 13 at Vigor High School in Mobile.