Haslam, State Officials Hold School Safety Summit - NewsChannel5.com | Nashville News, Weather & Sports

Haslam, State Officials Hold School Safety Summit

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP/NewsChannel5) - Gov. Bill Haslam told participants of a school safety summit that the state is committed to doing what it can to provide better security at Tennessee schools.

The event on Tuesday was organized to discuss current safety resources and practices, as well as hear from leading state and national experts on safety, law enforcement and mental health. They highlighted lessons learned from previous incidents and shared what's working in other districts nationally.

"Anybody going to the upper floors should be given a color coded pass. First floor is blue, second floor is red, third floor is yellow," safety expert Gregory Thomas said. "If you're on the third floor and you see a blue pass you stop them and say how may I help you."

During his State of the State address to lawmakers the night before, Haslam proposed $34 million in his budget to address capital needs that can be used for increased security measures in the aftermath of last month's massacre at an elementary school in Newtown, Conn. where a gunman killed 20 children and 6 adults.

"To hear the state say we are going to supply some money to help is a really big deal," Metro Schools Chief Operating Officer Fred Carr said.

The Republican governor told officials from state agencies and representatives from school districts across the state that he hopes the summit will provide "practical things that we can do."

Education Commissioner Kevin Huffman said he does not plan on implementing a basic set of security guidelines for districts to follow.

"Every local school and every local community has different needs. I think local law enforcement agencies have different realities as well," Huffman told reporters. "So oversight has to be driven at the local level."

(Copyright 2013 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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