A central topic of discussion at the Nodaway Valley school board meeting Wednesday, June 8 at the middle school library in Fontanelle was school safety.
Superintendent Paul Croghan told the board that school safety is obviously at the forefront of everyone’s minds right now because of it being severe weather season, and because of recent shootings at schools, churches and other public places around the country.
As part of a routine policy review process, a school safety policy that came up among those being reviewed generated discussion.
Croghan told the board that a required school safety plan was formulated in recent years. Former administrator Lanny Kliefoth was the one in charge of developing that plan.
“It’s a state law that every school have it. We have to review it. We have to have bus evacuation, fire and tornado drills, and some sort of a lock down exercise,” Croghan said. “We had drug dogs come through the high school the last week of school and that’s a lockdown procedure.”
In addition to preparing students and staff for all kinds of emergencies that might arise, documentation is required for the inspection of many different emergency-related systems in the school buildings.
The State Fire Marshal’s office can visit a school at any time but is required to every other school year. Inspections are regularly required for boilers, fire alarm and sprinkler systems, and other items. Regular inspections looking for safety and maintenance concerns around the district’s buildings are performed by administrators and janitorial or maintenance staff.
Croghan said it’s also important that the district have a severe weather plan in place for outdoor activities, especially during the summertime.
All these plans take coordination on the part of multiple individuals, but they’re important in the name of keeping students and the public safe.
“We want to know where everyone’s at, even if not everyone is around,” Croghan said.
The board also talked about regular work administrators, the school nurse Amy DeVault, and the wellness committee do to make sure healthcare needs are properly taken care of within the district.
Croghan said that many issues of school safety can be covered by adults in the district showing students they care.
“You can do it and have nobody know what you’re doing, but somebody notices it. That’s the one thing I’ve learned,” Croghan said. “Sometimes with kids, you’ve just gotta go say hi to them and ask them how they’re doing. It takes thirty seconds but it might save a heck of a lot of heartache.”