By Pete Temple, Express Sports Editor
With concern for student safety elevated by the tragic shootings in Newtown, Ct. last week, the Monticello School Board formulated a statement explaining the school district’s safety policies.
Board president Jeff Hinrichs read the statement during the board’s regular meeting Monday, Dec. 17.
As part of the statement, the board also observed a moment of silence to honor the students and teachers who lost their lives.
The statement reads:
“Our hearts go out to the community of Newtown, Connecticut and all that happened there on Friday. They have the sympathy of parents, community members and educators everywhere.
“The actions of one person have caused tremendous sorrow and pain. Our feelings of safety, security and love of children are shaken to their foundation.
“Such a situation causes us to look at the plans our district and schools have in place to keep our students and staff safe. The Monticello Community School District has plans and emergency procedures in place which are reviewed annually. While some of the specific details of the plan are not shared for security reasons, drills for fire, severe weather and lockdowns are conducted and discussed with adjustments made as necessary, always with the purpose of keeping staff and students safe. Safety of students is very important and adjustments are made as necessary to improve on current safety plans. Several years ago the district implemented a practice of locking doors during the school day. As part of this practice, cameras and door buzzers were installed at the primary entrance to each school building. People wishing to enter the building during school hours must be granted entry by a school official.
“We have a strong and committed staff who care about our young people and will do what is necessary in extreme situations to keep our students and staff safe. We have a well-trained police force and fire department. The Police Department has access to our emergency plans, and both agencies have on file floor plans of all our buildings. Furthermore, our Police Department has the ability to remotely access our security cameras during a crisis situation. Chief Smith has indicated the Police Department will share access to the cameras with the Fire Department when necessary. Chief Smith will be meeting with administration this week to again review our plan and discuss improvements that might be made.”
In other action, the board:
• heard a report from director Brett Kniess about changing the destination for the upcoming high school vocal music trip. Instead of Chicago, Kniess proposed a trip to Minneapolis March 16-18.
Later in the meeting, the board approved the trip.
• approved Todd Hospodarsky as advisor for the Students Opposed to Drugs and Alcohol (SODA) group.
• approved the modified allowable growth request for dropout prevention and services for dropouts and potential dropouts. The district is requesting allowable growth (spending authority) of $220,719.
• approved a student teacher agreement with Maranatha Baptist Bible College that will allow Jaime Jasa to serve as a student teacher at Monticello Middle School during the 2012-13 school year.
• appointed Liz Lutmer as child specific special education associate at the high school.
• approved the list of field trips for the January Academies.
• approved the transfer of child specific special education associate Shelly Kraus from one child to another.