Newton BOE talks BAC, security

By Cody Willoughby -

PLEASANT HILL — The Newton Board of Education discussed the approval of the district’s board advisory council, as well security improvements that could be made to Newton in the coming year.

Superintendent Pat McBride recommended that the board approve a joint agreement with the Miami County Educational Service Center to allow their Business Advisory Council, or BAC, to serve in the same capacity for the Newton Local School District. The board approved unanimously.

McBride also voiced interest in the implementation of enhanced security measures that other nearby districts currently enforce. This conversation came on the day of another school shooting, this time in Florida.

“We take our school security here very seriously,” McBride stated. “I spoke to Larry Claypool, who is the superintendent at Houston a couple weeks ago. Security came up, and he invited me up to see what they have. Shelby County schools have weapons in bio-safeboxes that open with a programmed fingerprint. Houston also has a response team made up of eight teachers, the school resource officer, and the superintendent. Those would respond as a team if there was an active shooter. They go through monthly qualified weapons training. I saw that today, and it was quite impressive.

“Right now, we do have an armed deputy in the building, which I appreciate greatly. If we adopted such a system, I don’t think we’d need as many on a response team. Houston doesn’t advertise the number of weapons they have on the premises, but holds a resolution that they have multiple weapons to be controlled by trained staff members.”

McBride indicated these matters were mere considerations at this juncture, based upon their displayed effectiveness in neighboring districts. He also detailed other security measures currently in force, such as regular student drills and security mechanisms on all doors.

Board member Lisa Hildebrand also mentioned special roll blankets currently in use for safety in exiting broken windows.

The board also moved to adopt a series of revised policies, as recommended by North East Ohio Learning Associates, or NEOLA. The policy changes are to comply with changes in state and federal law and update existing board policies to better meet the needs of the district.

Revised policies included college credit plus programs, gifted education and identification, employment of sub-educational aides, personal communication devices, attendance, drug prevention, use of medication, amenities for participants at meetings, disposition of property, and bus driver certification.

The board then approved Rebecca Chamberlain and Dean Evans to fill supplemental positions as coaches for the district.

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By Cody Willoughby