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Is Our School Safe?

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Is Our School Safe?

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In the United States, there has been on average one school shooting every week this year. With the recent events in Parkland, and other school shootings that have gained national attention, there has been public outcry and pressure on administrators to make sure that schools stay a safe place for students to learn.

Many administrative officials at OLHS and throughout the Olentangy schools are facing this new reality. Even though they have had safety measures in place, they are working to still make the school security even stronger.  

“We make every effort to be prepared for any emergency by regularly reviewing our policies and plans, working directly with local first responders and training staff and students to ensure that they are as prepared as possible in the event of an emergency,” Olentangy Local School superintendent Mark Raiff explains.

However, due to the current concerns about safety, the district has hired a new official, Joe Suozzi, to find ways to improve the security at our school. District officials realize that even though they see the schools as safe, they might not know if something needs to be improved, and that is where Mr. Suozzi is stepping in to help.
“I am focusing on meeting with every district administrator and local law enforcement to understand their concerns and opportunities for improvement,” says Mr. Suozzi.  

One of the concerns at Olentangy Liberty is the side doors not being locked during late arrival periods.

“The doors being open is an issue. We have talked about getting an automatic lock. We have talked about a camera down there and people would buzz in and out,” Deputy Peterson, the resource officer at OLHS, says.

Front Doors at OLHS

However, even though they are addressing these concerns, the most important tool in keeping the students safe is having staff and students who are aware of what is going on around them.

“Staff and students are often times the first lines of defense. We need everyone to be aware of their surroundings, to make smart choices, and to have the confidence to speak up if something isn’t right,” Suozzi states.

Along with the idea of ‘see something say something’, the district has students and staff practice in case of a dangerous situation.

“Each building conducts at least nine fire drills and two tornado drills each school year. The state requires schools to conduct a safety drills each year. Olentangy schools meet this requirement and conduct two additional safety drills each year,” Raiff explains.

The priority of the district is to keep students and faculty in a safe environment throughout the school. Even though there are problems with the security, the district is taking steps to figure out these problems and how to fix them.

“Before we open a book, teach a lesson, do a classroom activity, we have to make sure our staff, our students, our parents are comfortable with where people are going to school,” OLHS principal Mike Starner says.

Security Camera at OLHS

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Is Our School Safe?