County board hears school safety update - Republic-Times | News

County board hears school safety update

By on June 6, 2018 at 4:09 pm

Monroe Randolph Regional Superintendent of Schools Kelton Davis presented an update on school safety to the Monroe County Board of Commissioners at their regular Monday meeting.

Among initiatives Davis identified are programs to identify and reach out to troubled youth. 

“We are generating teen leadership groups,” Davis said, “and teaching them to listen, to reflect on what they are hearing, and then to point troubled peers toward help.”

Davis fielded questions from the commissioners about measures to restrict access to schools and adding armed security personnel, among others. Davis said he is exploring ways to making schools safe without turning them into forts or jails, but there is no single answer. 

Davis acknowledged schools are not staffed to provide intensive mental health counseling. 

“If (individual health) insurances will play a role (allowing off-site services),” Davis said, “we may then be able to bring more trained mental health therapists into our schools.”

Davis identified another program recently discussed in the Republic-Times — creating a restorative justice teen court as an alternative to adult courts, which may help redirect young people who exhibit wayward, non-violent criminal tendencies. This program is going forward in Monroe and Randolph counties with support of their respective states attorneys. 

Finally, Davis addressed measures to help prepare staff and students to best respond to an active shooter situation. 

“There’s more that can be done than simply locking doors and hiding in a corner,” Davis said, noting the four “E’s:” “educate, evade, escape and, if necessary, engage.”

“We want to instruct people at appropriate age levels about what might happen and what to do,” Davis said. “If a shooting does occur, we want people to have thought beforehand about evading and escaping.”

In the event of an active shooter, students and teachers are trained to not simply shelter in place, but, if the event is taking place in another part of the school, they should exit swiftly to a safe assembly point. 

“And the last ‘E’ is engaging,” Davis said. “A shooter will very likely have tunnel vision and be focused on his plan, which makes him susceptible to being physically headed off by throwing objects or even physically assaulting him, as a teacher recently did (in Indiana).”

At the end of the presentation, Monroe County Commissioner Vicki Koerber commended Davis. 

“We appreciate your initiatives,” she told him…>>>

Read the rest of this article in the June 6, 2018, issue of the Republic-Times newspaper.

If you don’t already receive the paper, you can subscribe by calling 939-3814 or clicking here, or pick up a copy at any of these locations.

Alan Dooley

Alan is a photojournalist -- he both shoots pictures and writes for the R-T. A 31-year Navy vet, he has lived worldwide, but with his wife Sherry, calls a rambling house south of Waterloo home. Alan counts astronomy as a hobby and is fascinated by just about everything scientific.