School district continuing to make safety improvements

Niki WolfeNewcomerstown News Published:

In the months that followed the school shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut, where 20 students and six school personnel were killed, the Newcomerstown Exempted Village School District continues to take a pro-active approach to improving safety in the district.

The East and West Elementary schools, and Newcomerstown High School all had installed new buzzer systems (or door access systems) where those who want to enter the building, must be "buzzed" or allowed in before entry.

"This was just part of the upgrade of the safety system for the district," Newcomerstown Superintendent Jeff Staggs said.

The Newcomerstown Middle School already had the buzzer entry system in place.

Staggs said teachers in the district attended an active shooter training seminar provided by the Ohio Attorney General's Office. He said that seminar was valuable because it taught teachers and administrators to look for some of the warning signs of a possible attack or a student that may be considering such an act.

He said the main idea is to be "pro-active."

Staggs said, however, one group of concerned Newcomerstown parents, known as the Parent Safety Committee, has asked the board of education to have teachers or designated personnel carry loaded firearms for protection in the schools.

"That's a big step," Staggs said, "and, so far, the board (of education) hasn't expressed their opinion on the matter."

He said he knows of some school districts in Ohio that do allow designated personnel in the district to carry firearms.

"There's a lot of questions to be answered before we make that decision," Staggs said about having loaded firearms in the schools.

He did say that the school district is continuing to make improvements in order to keep the children safe -- which is their number one concern.

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