In an announcement Monday, Gov. Bill Haslam said he is now working with leaders from the state executive branch to create a group that will oversee necessary improvements for safety, education and mental health of school children.

“All children in Tennessee deserve to learn in a safe and secure environment and I am asking this working group to move quickly in making practical recommendations that we can implement in the coming weeks and months to help increase the safety of our children,” Gov. Haslam said. “The review will be wide-ranging but include specific items, such as entry to and exit from schools, training, and availability of school resource officers, and in-school mental health resources for students.”

The Governor's School Safety Working Group will review the safety plans and procedures already in place at every school district in the state, as well as make new recommendations on additional safety measures.

Dept. of Safety and Homeland Security Commissioner David Purkey will lead the committee.

The committee includes 16 other high-ranking leaders from a variety of state departments: Greg Adams, Chief Operating Officer, Office of the Governor Sen. Paul Bailey (R-Sparta) Sen. Dolores Gresham (R-Somerville) Rep. David Byrd (R-Waynesboro) Rep. Ryan Williams (R-Cookeville) Sheriff John Fuson, Montgomery County Sheriff’s Department Mike Herrmann, Executive Director of Conditions for Learning, Department of Education Sgt. Jeff Hicks, School Resource Officer Supervisor, Blount County Sheriff’s Office Lt. Gen. Keith Huber, U.S. Army, Retired Abbey Kidwell, Teacher, South Clinton Elementary School, Clinton City Schools Candice McQueen, Commissioner, Department of Education Cindy Minnis, School Psychologist, Metro Nashville Public Schools Dr. Jack Parton, Superintendent, Sevier County Schools Dr. Altha Stewart, University of Tennessee, Incoming President of American Psychiatric Association Dr. Sonia Stewart, Principal, Pearl-Cohn Entertainment Magnet High School, Metro Nashville Public Schools Marie Williams, Commissioner, Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse ServicesGov. Haslam says he hopes the group will have their first set of recommendations ready by the end of the legislative session.

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