Marysville schools evaluated for safety
Mill Valley Elementary School principal Greg Casto and police officers Bo Spain and Dennis Flanagan look at the views of the school's security cameras (below) Wednesday, Jan. 9. Buy This Photo
The Marysville Exempted Village School District began a series of safety assessments for each of the district's buildings last week and will continue the assessments this week.
Superintendent Diane Mankins said the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary in Connecticut on Dec. 14 was a reminder that safety plans need to be constantly reviewed.
"We're continually looking for ways to improve," said Mankins. "It sounds like they followed their safety plan. But still there was someone that got into the building and got access to the children."
Ohio law requires each school building to have a crisis plan filed with the state every three years.
Mankins said the district wants to do everything it can to reassure parents and students it is being proactive.
"We just want to get more feedback and see if there are changes we can make. With stretched dollars, some of our cameras and things of that nature of have not been kept up to date," said Mankins. "We are looking for feedback from the police department to see what can be improved and maybe save money working through them."
Mankins sent a notice to parents on Jan. 4 that the district had asked the Marysville Police Department and Union County Sheriff's Department to give it an overall assessment and evaluation of its current procedures and policies and make recommendations for improvement.
MPD started at Mill Valley Elementary School on Jan. 9 with five police officers on hand during a 2.5-hour assessment and continued at Creekview Intermediate School on Jan. 10.
Due to the nature of the process, MPD said it would not release its findings to the public.
"This is the first step in an ongoing process to ensure the safety of our students, teachers and staff," said MPD Chief Floyd Golden.
The four parts of the assessment include: an exterior security check prior to the arrival of students, pedestrian traffic patterns, traffic in and out of the building, and school arrival procedures. Officers also interview office staff and principals to gather data and information on policies and procedures with visitors, safety issues and concerns, and assess physical security systems including cameras, key pass entries, key distribution and access.
Mankins said the district will get feedback and suggestions for improvement after each series of assessments. It will then share the information with parents.
Overall, Mankins said parents seem supportive of the district's evaluation plans.
"They appreciate that we are working together and looking at the safety plan. We've received lots of positive comments so we feel good about that," said Mankins.
Evaluations continue Monday, Jan. 14, at Navin Elementary School; Jan. 16 at Bunsold Middle School; Jan. 17 at Northwood Elementary; Jan. 18 at Edgewood Elementary; and Jan. 22 at Marysville High School. A final date has not been selected for Raymond Elementary yet but the district is working with the Union County Sheriff to put that evaluation in place.