Buckeye Local taking steps to tighten security

RAYLAND – School officials know they can not anticipate every potential threat to the safe and secure operation of the Buckeye Local Schools, but district officials are working with local and state level law enforcement resources and security experts to begin assessing its internal strengths, weaknesses existing resources, and to prioritize potential solutions.

At the Buckeye Local School District Board of Education meeting earlier this week, details shared by one of the district’s administrative team only served to reinforce the fact that career educators are now facing a turning point in their professional training needs that is expected to have a substantial impact on how day to day business is conducted.

“If you see something: say something. Nothing is too small. If you see something that is out of place, say something. Report it. Don’t just pass it off as nothing,” said elementary school administrative team member William Luther, now assigned to West Elementary in Adena.

Luther shared those comments as being among the key lessons brought forward during a workshop he had attended earlier in the day in the Cleveland area. He was one of the last of the district’s administrative team to attend the specialized workshop in recent weeks.

The workshop “Active Shooter Training for Educators,” is made available through the resources of the Ohio Attorney General’s Office and the Ohio Peace Officer Training Academy. Conducting the workshops are law enforcement professionals drawn from the ranks of the Ohio Highway Patrol.

Local School District’s Board of Education members are continuing to see support for connecting to as many viable opportunities designed to better educate and prepare personnel to respond as safely and effectively as possible should any of its students, personnel or resources come under direct assault.

“To prepare for these attacks we must simply prepare: develop a plan, work with law enforcement and train, train, train,” stated Luther.

A general sense of agreement was evident as heads throughout the room nodded repeatedly in agreement throughout his comments on the workshop and its informational highlights.

“The biggest thing is communication. As a school district we have drills. We have different things that we do. But we have to also remember, until we’re in a situation, there are always ways we can improve,” referring to another tactic shared for ongoing growth and improvement in the individual and collective abilities to respond to threatening and or violent situations which might develop within any school environment.

“We have to know what is going on. When something happens what are our action steps going to be. We have to know what are we going to do, and we have to do these things repeatedly. When you get tense and you get nervous, you revert back to the training you do,” he said referring to explanations law enforcement personnel have offered when asked by non-professionals how they have successfully responded to extreme challenges involving the threat of violence.

“This was probably one of the best workshops we have been to in awhile. It was very informational,” Luther told school district officials. “They’re planning, and we should be planning too.”

Several parents voiced their personal support for the increased attention being seen in the district focused on safety and security measures available and in the planning stages.

All voiced support for passage of a levy during a special election in May. If approved it will generate monies board members have said will be strictly earmarked to help fund building security improvements.

The levy we are asking for in May is an emergency levy. The sole purposes of this levy is to gain monies to fund putting an armed resource officer in every building, and to fund some structural changes in the buildings making direct access into a building less accessible,” said Haggerty. “We are looking at things that are practical – common sense: having multiple doors that have to go through to actually get into a school, improving the doors, improving the locks on the classrooms all those kinds of things. But the key to the whole thing is the money to do it.”