Perrysburg listens to concerns on safety at schools
Written by PETER KUEBECK Sentinel Staff Writer
Thursday, 20 December 2012 11:22
PERRYSBURG - The concerns of parents brought out by Friday's elementary school massacre in Newtown, Conn., bubbled up at Monday's School Board meeting.
The board heard the worries of two parents and discussed the event - which has become a national lightning rod for a variety of issues - amongst themselves.
During a portion of the meeting inviting public comment, resident Chad Adams, who has a child attending Woodland Elementary, asked the board what plans there were for safety concerns in the schools - specifically, he said, he noticed that there were doors unlocked at the school in the morning, and he was able to enter without issue. Board member Mark Schoenlein pointed out a similar concern.
Superintendent Tom Hosler acknowledged that many of the schools leave their doors open in the mornings to provide access to parents who are dropping off or picking up their students, or helping deliver items.
Hosler also spoke to Adams' concerns, noting that the district principals met over the weekend to discuss safety issues, and a meeting was additionally held with Perrysburg police. The district has procedures in place should such an incident occur, he said. He further noted the kinds of materials available to students and their families to help in dealing with their emotions over the Sandy Hook shootings, and discussed the brief statements that district teachers made to students on Monday in an effort to help them feel safe.
Hosler noted that no one could guarantee that such an incident could not occur in Perrysburg, but said that he and the district staff are doing their very best to ensure students' safety.
Parent Elizabeth Lloyd, who has a child attending Fort Meigs Elementary, also expressed concerns about the ease of entering school buildings.
"When situations like this happen, I feel like seconds count," she said. Lloyd suggested that classroom doors be locked during the day, and that police patrol school parking lots and also walk though the schools. She further suggested that, since there are special alarms for fire and tornadoes, another alarm should be created especially for an intruder situation.
"What kind of alarm do we have if someone is to walk in that building?" she asked.
"We can never be too safe when it comes to our children," Lloyd said, later tearfully expressing how scared she felt sending her child to school on Monday.
"To me, it boils down to the culture of violence," said board member Gretchen Downs of the incident.
"I think it's going to take a nationwide community dialogue" on violence in the media to help make changes.
"It's not just locking down doors and terrifying parents," she added.
Member Walt Edinger also spoke, applauding what he saw as a coming national dialogue on assault weapons in the wake of the shootings.
"Teachers are trained, that's what they do," said member Valerie Hovland of how teachers react during such crises. "Previous training and drills does help."
The meeting began with a moment of silence in honor of those who died.
In other business, the board:
• Honored the Perrysburg High School Girls' Soccer Team for their Division I state championship. Each girl received a chain with a small medallion, upon which was written "State Champs."
• Recognized high school sophomore Eunice Park, who designed a television commercial for the school district.
• Approved a proclamation naming the baseball field at the high school athletic complex "The Jim Leyland Family Field," after the former city resident and Detroit Tigers coach.