Group looks to make Wellsville schools safer

WELLSVILLE — Wellsville school officials, members of the community and concerned parents met earlier this month for the first time as a new committee to address the recent and ongoing threat of violence throughout the country and how the school can better protect its students.

One of the main things discussed during the meeting was the inclusion of school resource officers in all three schools. These officers will consist of members of the Wellsville Police Department who are either working off days or during days where they are not on their shift at the station. They will monitor activity going on throughout the day.

“We thought that a resource officer in every building would be something we can do immediately if the police department could handle that,” Superintendent Richard Bereschik said.

The committee also discussed protocol regarding entering school buildings, noting students and faculty can only enter at two entrances at each building. At Garfield and Daw, it will be the main lobby; and at the high school, for students, it would be at the auditeria. All entrances are then locked when the tardy bell rings, and at that point, visitors may only enter via use of the buzzer system.

Another new policy for visitors interested in appearances or to provide speeches is a 24 hour notice.

Bereschik also said they are strongly encouraging parents to make sure students bring all items they need for the day.

Also to be used in the event a lockdown is a bola stick, which can withstand thousands of pounds of pressure in case someone attempts to break into the buildings.

Bereschik also said, in the future, the district will be looking to install a surveillance video system at the police department that will be sync the school with the station so that police can monitor inside the buildings around the clock.

As for some future considerations, the committee is looking into a double door system where everyone will be required to walk through two sets of doors to gain entry; and a Raptor system, a direct feed into the Bureau of Criminal Investigation that would provide any criminal information or any charges pending.

The School Safety Committee also consists of school board president Nancy Francis and vice president Ed Bauer, Wellsville High School principal Linda Rolley, maintenance supervisor Joe Traina, Ohio Association of Public School Employees representative Lori Traina, Wellsville Teachers Association representative Robin Weeda, Lt. Marcia Eisenhart of the Wellsville Police Department, Wellsville Fire Chief Barry Podwel, concerned parents Jackie Brewer and Erin Orr, and community members Chris Amato and Timothy McNicol.