Panels Issues Recommendations For State School Safety - NBC4: Columbus, Ohio News, Weather, and Sports (WCMH-TV)

Panels Issues Recommendations For State School Safety

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State education officials are examining what changes have been made after the school shooting in Chardon last year, and what needs to be done to keep students safe.

The State Board of Education wanted to hear from safety professionals Tuesday about how to keep school buildings safe, and what changes need to be made to keep them that way.

A panel comprised of experts from the Department of Homeland Security, the Attorney General, and public safety stressed that most schools in Ohio have safety plans in place, but more needs to be done to improve safety.

"If you have a plan in place and you practice it and you make sure that someone evaluates that plan, that's key. You can't just have a plan and put it on the shelf," said Joseph Bergant ll, Superintendent of Chardon Local Schools.

The attorney general mandated schools register safety plans, but many plans were not complete and hard to follow.

"Develop that plan ... and make sure that there is consistency so that first responders and emergency personnel will all be on the same page," said Ken Hinkle, president of the Ohio Association of Chiefs of Police.

In June, the Attorney General's office will be releasing guidelines on how schools can develop a thorough safety plan.

Other state recommendations included having districts improve working relationships with law enforcement, giving schools an enhanced radio system that goes directly to 911 call centers, and when building a new school, school should make sure there are natural barriers to help increase security.

The state board said they will be helping lawmakers put the recommendations in school districts statewide.

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