KENT: The Kent City Schools Superintendent Joseph Giancola, discussed the ways Kent schools aim to improve safety at the school board meeting Tuesday night at Franklin Elementary school.
Giancola’s reflection was in response to a parent’s concerns about the vulnerability of students who are outside during programs, such as students who are part of the safety patrol. The parent’s daughter attends Walls Elementary School, and he is concerned about security in light of the Sandy Hook tragedy.
“All of our buildings are in lockdown mode,” Giancola said. “The buildings are locked and the parents have to ring a doorbell, and the secretaries have to make a decision whether to let someone in or not.”
Giancola said Kent faculty is in the process of learning the ALICE crisis response plan, which gives specific instructions for faculty to alert, lockdown, inform, counter, and evacuate during a safety crisis. Kent City Schools staff completed one round of training for the ALICE response.
Although Giancola said the school system does a lot to secure buildings, he said he would like to see more funds allocated from the budget to do more, specifically to make sure each doorway in the school system has a digital camera.
Giancola said this security system would be monitored by a school resource officer, who would be full-time presence from the Kent Police Department.
“The person would be licensed, trained, and practiced in using deadly force if needed,” Giancola said. “Anything you’ve heard, perhaps, about an initiative nationwide or in Ohio about training teachers to handle handguns and those kinds of things, that is not what we’re talking about. Personally, I’m opposed to that. Any of you who have ever done any hunting or served in the army know that handling any type of weapon takes more than a two-weeks training to be able to use it properly.”
When prompted by the criticism that cameras only monitor tragedy as its happening, opposed to being preventative, Giancola said a strategic planning committee is evaluating ways the community wants the school district to protect its students. Giancola said he made suggestions such as limiting recess or activities such as safety patrol because students or more vulnerable outside, but the community typically frowns on such limitations.
The strategic planning committee will talk to a focus group and consult with security experts to consider what safety precautions still need to be made in Kent schools.