The Canal Winchester Times

Groveport Madison schools

Board delays vote on safety training program

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The Groveport Madison Board of Education agreed March 14 to place a proposed safety training program for teachers and students in grades 6-12 on hold until it gets more information.

The Groveport and Madison Township police departments recommended that the district provide two sessions of Alert-Lockdown-Inform-Counter-Evacuate (ALICE) training, one May 15 and another in August.

"Remember, the premise behind ALICE is that it teaches you to flee and if all else fails, combat or confront the attacker," Superintendent Bruce Hoover said. "Our concerns with elementary buildings were that elementary kids were too small to confront and certainly fleeing created some problems, so we tried to stay clear of the elementary buildings for the initial round of training."

Dean of Students Richard Playko said the proposed Groveport training is modeled after a program already in place in the Gahanna Jefferson school district.

Several board members expressed concern that they had very little information about the program and that parental input had not been sought before the item was brought to the board for a vote.

"I just think we're getting ahead of ourselves a little bit, not having parents involved in the comprehensive planning of safety and security in our schools," board member Nancy Gillespie said. "We need that input."

Other board members also expressed concern that something needs to be done soon with the existing buildings to make them more secure.

Bryan Shoemaker said he saw no need to wait to implement the new training program.

"I disagree with the board at this time," he said. "I think it's high time that we've done it. We should have done it months ago.

"We need to do something to protect our teachers and students," he said, noting that the police departments have indicated the ALICE training is flexible.

"We need to implement something other than what we have right now -- status quo," Shoemaker added.

While board members agreed that something needs to be done to ensure safety in the schools, most said they want more information at the March 28 board meeting before they make a decision.

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