Homeland Security to check school safety

By Jonathan Delozier - jdelozier@aimmediamidwest.com

A safety audit of all three Wellington public school buildings will be performed by the Ohio Homeland Security office.

District superintendent Ed Weber said the move comes as a response to students’ concerns about recent mass shootings at schools across the country and to shore up evacuation plans for other potential crises such as fires or floods.

The audit is slated to take place April 4 during spring break.

“The board and I started having the discussion of whether our facilities are safe enough,” Weber said. “I contacted the P-20 office for school safety through the Ohio Department of Education, and they referred me to Ohio Homeland Security. They’re going to perform the audit and provide written recommendations within the week or two following that.”

Services from Ohio Homeland Security come at no cost to the district but any recommended security upgrades would have to be purchased from private vendors.

Following a Feb. 14 mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School that left 17 people dead, the Wellington Schools announced the hiring of a second school safety officer.

One officer now patrols the halls of Wellington High School the entire school day while the other rotates between Westwood Elementary and McCormick Middle School.

Weber said the variance in age between the district’s three buildings will mean the upgrades they need will vary widely.

“Westwood has had some windows removed over the years and all of the schools have had energy efficiency upgrades,” he said. “Westwood has covered up many windows to save on energy. What might be an upgrade to intrusion security can be a negative in terms of fire evacuation.”

Jonathan Delozier can be reached at 440-775-1611 or @DelozierNews on Twitter.

By Jonathan Delozier