LAKE TWP.  During the regular board meeting on Feb. 26, the Lake Local Board of Education heard a prepared statement from Superintendent Kevin Tobin regarding safety and security matters.

Tobin said he wanted to make the statement in response to events at Jackson Local Schools the prior week; the shooting at Parkland, Fla.; and because of the lockdown that occurred at Lake Local Schools Feb. 23. The district went into a lockdown at the middle school after a note was found that threatened to, "shoot the school up."

He mentioned the proactive measures the district has taken including having two school resource officers that travel through all of the buildings in the district. He said staff in the district will be going through training in May for safety and security in the new buildings.

Tobin said the district entered into a program called Mental Health First Aid and school counselors and over 100 teachers and staff have been trained to identify various warning signs and protocols to help students obtain mental health support. The district has also contracted with a clinical counselor to provide services on the campus.

The district is planning to add a new Multi-Radio Communications System (MARCS) radio system. One radio device will be placed in each building that has an emergency response button that will alert local law enforcement immediately.

The district is also implementing a district-wide radio system for buses and school personnel that will provide 100 percent coverage to all areas of district. Tobin said the administration meets regularly with security professionals evaluate our security plan and what needs improvement.

He also spoke about the lockdown on Friday, "I went into a lockdown based on the information I had in front of me at the time."

He further explained the district went into a soft lockdown versus a hard lockdown. A soft lockdown involves all movement of students stops, doors are locked and teachers maintain instruction. Hard lockdown is where teachers and students are directed to hide, turn off lights, barricade doors and remain silent until first responders arrive.

In either lockdown, Tobin said teachers are not to open the door for anyone. Personnel will key into a room if needed.

Tobin also discussed lessons learned from the events Feb. 23. He said he needs to be more clear as to which building is on lockdown when relaying information to parents and the community.

He said that no parents will be allowed to enter a locked down building until the lockdown has been lifted.

"I will direct parents when they can pick up their children. Parents were unclear about pickup on Friday and I take full responsibility for not being clear," Tobin said.

He said they will be reviewing the process for improvements for the future. The district has increased police presence in all buildings, school resource officers will only work inside the buildings versus working outside of the buildings in activities such as directing traffic.

"I’ve expressed to our parents they should talk to their kids about if they see something, they should say something. I met with other county superintendents and the Stark County Sheriff’s department today and will continue to meet with them to discuss best practices moving forward," Tobin said. 

OTHER ACTIONS: 

- Held the monthly Hartville Lion’s Club, Uniontown Lion’s Club and the Lake Board of Education recognition program. The following students and staff were recognized: Paige Weaver and Aaron Mitchell, 3rd grade; Madison Ahbel and Jack Dinwiddie, 5th grade; Sierra Delahanty and Cole DeLuca, 8th grade; Jaden Ludwig and Isaac King, 12th grade. Also, recognized Ashli Breit, teacher of the month; Georganne Reeves, employee of the month; and Mary Null, volunteer of the month.

- Accepted a donation from the Martha Holden Jennings Foundation as grant for Danielle Shaub in the amount of $1,991.

- Approved employment building level technology support pending completion of all legal requirements for Marc Pullen, Hartville Elementary School; Kiersten Pepper, Uniontown Elementary School; and Jenna Reynolds, Lake Middle School.

- Approved a list of spring coaches including assistant middle school track, assistant varsity track, JV baseball coach, volunteer baseball and softball, varsity assistant softball, JV softball, JV boys tennis and assistant boys lacrosse.

- Went into executive session to discuss security matters. When returning from executive session, with no action taken.

UP NEXT: Meets 7:30 p.m., March 19 at Lake Middle School, 511 Market Ave. SW.