NORTH CANTON The North Canton City Schools Board of Education heard a safety and security update from Superintendent Jeff Wendorf during the regular meeting on Feb. 21.
"It’s been a tough week in education and we want those in Jackson Local Schools to know our thoughts and prayers are with them," Wendorf said.
Wendorf said the district has increased police presence at all the buildings for the short term and is working on a long-term plan for continued police presence. The district has also made some adjustments in the entrance and egress at the high school.
"We are always reviewing our processes and practicing our procedures with local police and fire. We are required to submit our drill processes to the state of Ohio on a regular basis," Wendorf said.
He also said that the district is aware of vague threats made on social media over the weekend and through the week and the district along with law enforcement are investigating all of them. Wendorf said the main threat came through an app originating in Saudi Arabia called Sarahah and he said it was determined by Federal, state, county and local police to be non-creditable.
Wendorf said students shouldn’t make, spread or share threats. Law enforcement will not tolerate any threats made or shared on social media or in other ways. Authorities have made official statements they will charge anyone making threats or sharing threats and some of the charges could be felonies.
He also shared that if the district goes into a lock down and law enforcement takes over, the district follows police procedure.
"Law enforcement takes it out of our hands. Parents should know that it is a long and slow process for parent reunification. Understand we don’t want to release students until we have a secure situation. We realize parents want their children with them and safe, but’s it’s a slow, slow process and we want to do it the proper way," he said.
Wendorf offered a few reminders for parents including if parents have weapons at home, he asked that they keep them secured and locked up. He suggested that parents get to know their child’s friends, know which apps are on their phones, what’s in their backpacks and which computer games they are playing. He said many students are playing violent games for hours on end.
"If your child is in distress or has suffered some trauma, please reach out for help from your pastor or school counselor. It’s a different day than it was a week ago in education. We want our parents to know we are doing everything we can to keep our kids safe," Wendorf said.
Lastly, he suggested parents and students put the SaferOH tip line number on their phones. The number is 844-SaferOH (844-723-3764). According to the saferschools.ohio.gov website, the tip line is, "A safety resource available to Ohio Schools that could prevent and alert local law enforcement to a school safety crisis. This resource – an anonymous tip line service – is available free of charge to every school district and public and private school in Ohio."
It continues with, "This tip line allows students and adults to anonymously share information with school officials and law enforcement about threats to student safety—whether that involves a threatened mass incident or harm to a single student."
- Approved a contracted agreement with Hasenstab Architects for design services associated with the construction of a new locker room facility, concession stand and storage area at North Canton Memorial Stadium. Wendorf said the project will use funds raised from private donations and that "no, no, no tax payer dollars will be used for the project."
- Received a Business Advisory Report. Wendorf said the law requires districts to submit the report to the board to show that the district has good relations and communications with the business community.
- Heard Character Counts recognitions for head custodian Chas Pyle from North Canton Middle School and students Olivia Cardinale and Emily Eagon.
- Accepted the following donations: a laminator from Clearmount PTO, $1,000 from Dr. David Farinacci for the purchase of t-shirts for the second grade musical "Hats" and $250,000 from The Hoover Foundation for renovations and additions in the Memorial Stadium.
- Approved three overnight trips including: Todd Alkire, advisor, and 40 Hoover High School Robotics Team students to participate in the 2018 Miami Valley Regional First Robotics Competition at Wright State University in Dayton, Feb. 28 to March 3, 2018, with no cost to the board, except bus transportation and the cost of a substitute; Alkire, advisor, and 51 Hoover High School Robotics Team students to participate in the First Robotics Regional Competition at Cleveland State University, Cleveland, March 29-31, with no cost to the Board, except bus transportation; and, Missy Stertzbach and Jennifer Manion, speech & debate advisors, and 27 Hoover High School students to participate in the state tournament in Sylvania, March 1-3, with no cost to the Board except bus transportation.
- Approved two out-of-state field trips including: band directors Ron Varn, Ellen Varn and Thomas Lewis, and Hoover High School band students to attend the annual Band Camp at Edinboro University in Edinboro, Pa., July 22-27, with no cost to the Board, except transportation costs; and Band Directors Ron Varn, Ellen Varn, and Thomas Lewis, and Hoover High School band students to perform at Walt Disney World Magic Kingdom and Epcot in Orlando, Fla., April 24-28, 2019, with no cost to the Board except substitute teachers for two days.
- Approved an out-of-state workshop for Terri Simmons, school counselor, to attend the Mental Health First Aid Summit in Washington D.C., with no cost to the Board.
UP NEXT: Meets 6:00 p.m. March 21 in the media room at Hoover High School.