Olentangy Valley News

Superintendent's notebook

Olentangy ahead of curve when it comes to student safety

Several weeks have passed since the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School, but the shock and pain are as intense as when the first news reports started to come in that day.

The privilege of being an educator comes with the responsibility of creating safe learning environments. I would like to share some of the ways in which the Olentangy Local School District addresses these concerns.

Each of our schools has a safety plan that includes such events as tornado drills, fire drills and school-intruder scenarios. A committee reviews and updates these plans on a regular basis and ensures that employees have access to copies of the plan for their schools. The committee is made up of employees, our school resource officers and representatives from each police and fire agency that serves our district.

Olentangy covers 95 square miles and reaches into multiple municipalities. We work with these police and fire agencies on a regular basis. The result is that all of our buildings benefit from the expertise of the Olentangy area's first responders and law enforcement agencies.

State law requires each building to have one safety drill a year. Our schools go beyond that by holding additional safety drills along with at least nine fire evacuation drills.

Another support to our district's safety efforts are our school resource officers. These Delaware County Sheriff's deputies are familiar faces in our buildings and provide an immediate source of feedback on security issues.

We are planning a community forum in late winter that will focus on school safety. It will give everyone the opportunity to ask questions, make suggestions and hear valuable feedback from safety experts. Once the details are finalized, we will notify parents via email, building announcements and the district website. I hope you will consider joining us for this important event.

Parents can help the district's safety efforts by following each building's rules for visitors and keeping open the lines of communication with the district. If you have a safety concern or suggestion, please reach out to your building principal.

I thank the Olentangy community for its continued support of the district and for its partnership in our work to keep students safe, secure and learning.

Wade Lucas is superintendent of the Olentangy Local School District.