You’ve likely heard me talk about how important school safety is to me and how important it is to the success of each and every child in our schools. This is always a focus for our school district and will continue to be this year.
We regularly solicit feedback about many aspects of the experience people have within our schools, including safety. According to our most recent parent survey, 87% of our district parents feel the school environment is caring and supportive, and 90% of parents feel the school district is a safe place for their children. Added to that, 93% of our staff feel they have a safe workplace.
While these numbers are extremely positive, we can always find ways to improve.
For this reason, we organized a Safety Task Force last school year to review district policies and practices on several safety topics. This task force, comprised of staff and parents, identified key findings, developed a variety of options and presented their work to the Board of Education in the spring.
As a result of the task force’s diligence and the school district’s commitment to safety, we are updating some of the safety protocols and procedures in our schools this year.
- Every visitor to a district school building during school hours must enter through the main entrance and register at the school office. If a visitor plans on visiting any part of the school other than the lobby, the visitor must sign in.
- At Mariemont Elementary, Terrace Park Elementary and Mariemont Junior High, every visitor must register his/her name and purpose of visit in a visitor sign-in book. Each visitor will be issued a badge that must be worn for the duration of the visit. Visitors may be asked to show identification.
- We are piloting LobbyGuard, which is a self-service kiosk system, at Mariemont High School. LobbyGuard will help us keep track of everyone who enters our doors by running a background check on each visitor. Every visitor will be required to provide a state-issued identification (i.e., driver’s license) to be scanned at the LobbyGuard kiosk in the main office. Each visitor will then be given a visitor badge that must be worn for the duration of the visit.
- Certain volunteer positions will require a full background check prior to assuming volunteer duties. In general, these are volunteers who may work unsupervised with children or any visitor who is on school property regularly and opts to register for a permanent school volunteer badge.
- We have launched a School Resource Officer program at Mariemont High School this school year. Our SRO, Terry Zinser, who has 37 years of experience in law enforcement and is retired as the Chief of Police for Union Township, is a uniformed Mariemont police officer assigned as a regular presence on the high school campus to provide security and crime prevention services and also serve as a problem solver, youth advocate, school and community liaison, mentor and positive role model.
For more information about the steps we’re taking to ensure our students, staff and visitors are as safe as possible, please visit the district website’s school safety page.
I consider the matter of school safety everyone’s business, and so I ask you to keep your eyes open and to report any unsafe condition or situation to your child’s principal. I appreciate your cooperation and support as we all get used to these additional safety procedures. Together, we can maintain a school environment that is safe and conducive for growth, work and learning.