Groveport Madison officials are standing by their safety plans after a student's mother barged into Groveport Madison Middle School South and assaulted another student last week, police said. But the attack has validated efforts to replace the district's older buildings, which officials said could have helped keep the woman away from students.
Groveport Madison officials are standing by their safety plans after a student’s mother barged into Groveport Madison Middle School South and assaulted another student last week, police said.
But the attack has validated efforts to replace the district’s older buildings, which officials said could have helped keep the woman away from students.
As at many of Groveport Madison’s buildings, the entrance at Middle School South does not funnel visitors into the office. Staff members have to trust that visitors will go there, district spokeswoman Dee Copas said.
“That’s one of the facility concerns,” she said.
The board recently approved a master facilities plan that calls for eventually replacing existing schools with four new elementary schools and two middle schools. Visitors to the new schools would come in through the main office.
The district has placed a combined tax request on the May ballot, including a $33 million bond issue that would pay only for a new high school. The board has not yet decided when to ask voters for a tax request to build the other schools.
But now, Copas said, “You have those soft spots. You’re still letting them into the building without letting them into the office.”
This school year, the district began requiring visitors to present identification before they enter a school. Once inside, visitors must report to the office.
Irea Nall, whose daughter attends the middle school, did neither. School employees refused to let Nall in when she failed to provide an ID. School doors are locked and can be opened only from within or by a buzzer. She slipped inside as a visitor was leaving the building.
Groveport police said she screamed at staff members and shoved an administrator when he tried to block her from entering the school. Teachers started to evacuate students as Nall forced her way into the cafeteria, police said.
She jumped on a table and kicked at food to get to a girl who her daughter said had bullied her, police said. But Nall struck another student instead, police said. The administrator fell and was injured when he tried to stop Nall.
Nall ultimately left the school with her daughter. School officials said their investigation shows that the daughter was not bullied.
Nall, 28, faces charges of assault, inciting panic and aggravated trespassing.
Principal Darren Fillman said in a letter to parents that teachers and students acted appropriately and have used the incident to review their safety procedures.
Ken Trump, president of National School Safety and Security Services, a Cleveland-based consulting company, said there is always a risk that someone will get into a school.
Having well-trained staff members, parents and students will keep a school safe, he said. “Your physical security measures are only as strong as your weakest human link,” he said.