By Linda Dillman
Canal Winchester Schools Superintendent Kiya Hunt said a safety committee has been created – comprised of herself, Fairfield County and Madison Township representatives, Operations Director Mike Bruning, Mike Rich, and Network Systems Coordinator Heather Williams.
The committee is the starting point in moving forward with school safety concerns in conjunction with the district’s strategic planning.
“I think the safety committee allows us to have an avenue to take issues to the voices of many for input,” said Hunt. “I see it as being an ongoing committee and not something we’re doing in the short term.”
Hunt said School Resource Officer Keith Mallory and fellow resource officer Fairfield County Deputy Matthew Baughman a baseline to build upon.
“We’ve got both of them and I think the way this has worked out the first two to four months has been fantastic to have both representatives in our school district,” Hunt said.
Baughman starts his day at 6:30 a.m. and spends the bulk of his time at the high school.
Mallory primarily covers the middle school and elementary buildings, ending his day at 4 p.m.
When asked by Canal Winchester Board of Education member Vangela Barnes about wearing body cameras, Mallory said it is his department’s policy to wear a camera. Barnes felt officers should be equipped with a body camera, especially at the high school.
“The camera is not on all the time like it was in Groveport,” said Mallory. “And we do carry TAZERs. That’s per policy of our department.”
Baughman said he does not wear a camera or carry a TAZER.
Regarding creating and maintaining a good working relationship with students within the buildings where they serve, Baughman said one of his greatest traits is his ability to talk to kids.
“I want to build good relationships,” Baughman said.
Mallory said building connections with kids is his number one priority and his door is always open to students.
Student earns safety award
The Madison Township Police presented a Safety Award to eighth grader Rocco Ruby.
Mallory said the award is given to a student who demonstrates school safety throughout the year.
“This year, Rocco has demonstrated characteristics that make him an ideal candidate for the student safety award,” said Assistant Principal Natalie Friend. “Rocco feels now more than ever it is important to keep his school safe so he and fellow students have a safe place to learn. Rocco serves as a conflict negotiator and role model and leader in our school.”
According to Friend, he is helpful in identifying situations and bringing them to the attention of school staff. She said he leads by being a positive example.
“Rocco balances his busy school schedule with playing travel baseball,” said Friend.