Addressing school safety concerns in West Jeff

(Posted March 15, 2018)

By Linda Dillman, Staff Writer

The Jefferson Local School District sits outside the hustle and bustle of a major city but is not immune to the same kind of security concerns that affect larger school districts.

“These last few weeks have been tumultuous with safety issues,” said Superintendent William Mullett, referring to school threats and social media pranks disrupting schools in central Ohio and across the country following the tragic school shooting in Parkland, Fla., on Feb. 14.

During the March 12 school board meeting, Mullett reported on an increased law enforcement presence throughout the school district the week of March 5. He said the police determined a social media threat to the district to be “bogus.”

“I want to thank the West Jefferson Police Department, our staff and administrators,” Mullett continued. “They came into our buildings and walked through them. Everything we did helped people feel more secure. It was a learning experience.”

In other discussion and action, the school board approved the district’s 2018-19 school calendar. The first day of school for students is Aug. 20 with Norwood Elementary having staggered start dates for grades K-5.

Thanksgiving break is Nov. 21-23. Winter break begins on Dec. 24 and school resumes on Jan. 8. Spring break in 2019 is April 15-19 and the last day for students with an early release is May 30.

“It worked out pretty well,” said Jerry Doran, board calendar committee member.

Longtime school bus driver Vicki McNeal submitted her retirement resignation to Mullett effective June. 1. Mullett thanked McNeal for her 30 years of service.

Board President David Harper lauded McNeal for her union leadership role and said it was a pleasure working with her.

“The relationship you had with board members went above and beyond the job,” Harper said.

The board also approved the resignation of West Jefferson Middle School art teacher Sandra Henry, who is leaving the district after five years due to relocation.

“I have thoroughly enjoyed my time here and am honored to have had the chance to touch the lives of so many children,” Henry said in a Feb. 26 letter to the superintendent.

“It has been as much a pleasure to learn from them as it has been to teach them. Thank you so much for the opportunity.”

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