Safety emphasized at Reynoldsburg Schools


By Sarah Thomas
Staff Writer

Conversation centered around the recent school shooting in Parkland, Fla. at the Feb. 20 Reynoldsburg Board of Education meeting, with a presentation on safety plans in place for Reynoldsburg City Schools.

Nick Keisel, director of safety and security for Reynoldsburg City Schools, shared the process for school safety as well as improvements that could be made. He said it is important to make sure enough is being done to keep schools safe. Open communication with first responders and acting proactively instead of reacting to problems is important to addressing safety.

“We collaborate, we think about things, we look at trends and data and then are able to apply those and act proactively before they become a problem,” Keisel said, referring to daily communication between first responders and himself.

There are emergency operation plans for all school buildings with over 30 scenarios of safety plan protocols and how to react to them. All first responders have access to the plans. All staff goes through an active shooter training with refresher courses every year. Similar training is conducted three times with students at every school.

“We need to be detailed and deliberate in what we are teaching them,” said Keisel.

Keisel touched on communication between the school and parents through the Remind 101 app and access control to buildings, which requires all guests to check in with an I.D. through Raptor.

Every time something like a school-shooting happens is an opportunity to check systems and to see if there are any lessons learned, Keisel said.

“Re-evaluating, re-evaluating, re-evaluating,” said Debbie Dunlap, board vice president, in response to the dedication of Keisel and his team in being proactive with safety plans.

Some of the improvements recommended by Keisel are to support mental health support groups, foster internal relationships with students and teachers and form threat assessment groups. These groups would be a multi-disciplinary approach involving first responders, school administrators and safety and security.

“This isn’t a way to punish kids…this is a means to identify threats, take a really detailed look into that child’s or student’s life, really uncover different things that might be missing or different things that we need to pay attention and address and then provide help for that student and track that assistance,” Keisel said. “This is a very important part of preventing these in the future.”

Board President Joe Begeny voiced his response to the Florida shooting, saying the relationship between teachers and students is the best way to prevent things like this happening. He talked about mental health and said he would be calling representatives to get more state funding to be able to hire counselors and social workers to provide support for our students.

“No matter our own beliefs to how mental health is connected to mass shootings, our kids need the help anyway and would benefit from all of it,” he said.

In connection with a push for more mental health services, the board approved the location of the community mural sponsored by ADAMH.

ADAMH, the Alcohol, Drug and Mental Health Board of Franklin County, has sponsored mural projects in several other cities across central Ohio, such as Whitehall, Westerville, Dublin and Franklinton. ADAMH uses the murals to educate the public and reduce stigma around mental health and substance abuse issues.

The Reynoldsburg mural will be painted on a side wall of the Livingston Avenue campus, and is scheduled to completed by the end of September. ADAMH will meet with community members and students to design the mural and painting should begin in July or August.

Previous articleBe cautious with door-to-door salesmen; plus other Groveport news
Next articleAdditional tennis courts prompt debate at Groveport City Council


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here
This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.