Alder board wants priority placed on protection

(Posted March 15, 2018)

By Sandi Latimer, Staff Writer

The Jonathan Alder school board adopted a resolution March 12 supporting school safety and the reduction of violence in schools. The resolution comes about a month after a gunman opened fire in a Parkland, Fla., school, killing 17 people.

The resolution calls on President Trump, Gov. Kasich, Congress and state legislators to “prioritize the protection of students and school employees by enacting legislation with funding” for:

– enhanced mental health services and substance abuse treatment so that all individuals, including students, have sufficient access to services;

– increased access to school safety measures, including, but not limited to, school resource officers, school safety infrastructure, and other security measures designed to protect students and staff from an active shooter on school grounds;

– training for school employees and enhanced coordination with law enforcement agencies and first responders to ensure appropriate responses to incidences of violence in schools;

– preserving the balance between the right to own firearms and the protection of students and school employees from any act of violence.

At the school board meeting, Superintendent Gary Chapman exhibited a flyer titled “What is Being Done to Keep Our Kids Safe?” The flyer outlines safety and security measures in place in the district’s buildings and information about where to access services. The flyer can be found on the district’s website, www.alder.k12.oh.us.

In other business, the board:

– approved three-year contract renewals for Misty Swanger, assistant superintendent, Michael Aurin, high school principal, and Matt Keller, Canaan Middle School principal, as well as a one-year contract renewal for Kelly Hicks, Plain City Elementary principal.

– approved the purchase of two 84-passenger buses at $90,029 each and the trade-in of two buses at $2,000 each.

– approved an overnight lock-in at Canaan Middle School on May 11 for enrichment students.

– commended Power of the Pen winners in grades 7-8, the junior high school basketball teams that won the league championships, and the JA Community Support Coalition for designing community resource magnets and Main Street Treasures in Plain City for printing 2,000 magnets to distribute to students, staff and the community.

Messenger photo by Sandi Latimer
Jonathan Alder School Board member Steve Votaw (left) adjusts a pair of virtual reality goggles to focus on a specific item in the pastoral setting pictured on the television behind him. Board President Mary Jo Boyd (right) does the same, as Monroe Elementary students give advice on how to use the goggles, which arrived at the school three weeks ago.

During student presentations at the meeting, Monroe Elementary students showed school leaders how to use virtual reality goggles.

“I see a pyramid,” Chapman exclaimed as he adjusted the orange and white goggles.

Off to Chapman’s right was a large-screen television where what appeared to be a pastoral setting was projected. Swanger pointed to a small icon in the middle of the picture behind what appeared to be a hill. That turned out to be the pyramid Chapman said he saw.

When the image on the screen changed to an underwater video of sharks, one of the students advised the board that with the goggles, they could see people swimming with sharks.

The goggles arrived at Monroe Elementary three weeks ago. Swanger said she looks forward to what all can be done with them.

The board’s next meeting will be April 9 at 6:30 p.m. at the high school.

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