ROBERTSDALE, Ala. (WALA) - Baldwin County District Attorney Hallie Dixon and Public School Superintendent Dr. Alan Lee sent a message to citizens to keep guns away from schools and school property.
"We are asking parents, teachers, community leaders and church leaders to talk to our young adults. Talk to our youth. Make it clear to them. Even if they think it's funny, it's not ever funny," Dixon said.
They said they will have a zero tolerance for guns in or around schools or school property.
Recently, two students at Baldwin County High School were arrested for having a gun at school. Now they face disciplinary action from the school and juvenile court.
"We believe, from what the individuals have said, that they thought it was a lark; and so today, that is our main message," Dixon said. "There's nothing funny about it. It can destroy their lives, and it creates an atmosphere that is just terrible for our educators and our children and parents."
On Wednesday, January 23, 19-year-old Mendrell Porter of Foley was arrested for shooting a BB gun at a bus with students on it. He claimed it was unintentional, but deputies said they believe otherwise. Dixon said she plans to ask for strict bond conditions should he make bond, proving her zero tolerance claim.
"The sheriff's office brought the charge of shooting a projectile into an occupied vehicle; and as far as my office is concerned, it will be treated as any major crime… a serious felony," Dixon said.
Dr. Lee said he is in full support of the Dixon's hard line stand on the issue, but also wants to assure parents that work is going on right now to improve campus safety. Lee said he has a team of safety experts working on making all schools in the system safer.
"Our safe schools team, which is composed of a dozen current and former law enforcement officers, many of which have been trained and have years of experience in security, are doing an evaluation of four of our school in the county," Lee said.
Those schools will become models for other schools throughout the system to follow. There is no definite deadline for when the safe schools team will finish their evaluation.
The latest incident happened Wednesday morning when a school bus driver in Orange Beach reported having a handgun discharged next to a school bus prior to picking up any students. Orange Beach Police are still investigating that incident.
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According to authorities, a man suspected of firing a shot that missed a 6-year-old and 8-year-old sitting in the backseat of a car Saturday, November 30, has been arrested.
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