Schools Scramble To Submit School Safety Plans To State After 10TV Probe


UPDATED: Wednesday February 27, 2013 6:57 PM

Three central Ohio schools left to submit their safety plans to the state filed them within the past week after being probed by 10TV’s Jerry Revish.

Now, four schools in the state are left to submit their plans, which are required by state law.

Grace Community School in Delaware, Wesley-Taylor Preparatory School in Chillicothe and Excel Academy in Newark were the last three in central Ohio that had not submitted their paperwork

In wake of the Chardon shooting earlier this year, Attorney General Mike DeWine's School Safety Task Force came up with some guidelines for schools, including a recommendation they submit floor and safety plans.
They also need protocols for serious threats including an active shooter or hostage situation.

DeWine has said that his office needs all of this information to make sure law enforcement has access electronically when an emergency happens. Though there is no deadline for submitting the plans, DeWine asked the plans be submitted as soon as possible.

At Excel Academy in Newark, Executive Director Amber Hamilton said locking doors is part of the rhythm of the special kindergarten through 12th grade school. No one can enter a classroom without a key.

The school just submitted its safety plan on Monday.

Grace Community School submitted its plans via email on Friday, and Wesley-Taylor submitted its plans on Saturday.

Excel is a private charter school that handles children with behavioral and emotional challenges, including autism.

Because of that, the school has an above-average security system, according to Hamilton.

“We have everything from individual student safety plans to school-wide safety plans, from an intruder to an internal threat,” Hamilton said.

She said that sometimes, students going through emotional crisis try to bolt out the door. That’s when an instructor can sound an alarm that automatically magnetizes the exit doors shut.

“They come in through these doors, and we have staff members greeting them,” Hamilton said. “We have tables set up to search their bags on the site.”

Hamilton said that submitting the school’s safety plan to the state was not hard, but it took time to pull the pieces together.

“We were unaware that our plans hadn’t been submitted,” Hamilton said. “And we’re glad the Attorney General let us know, so we could work on them.”

Administrators said they were still working with Newark police and fire officials to refine their plan.

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Previous Stories:
December 19, 2012: AG Says He Supports Arming At Least 1 School Staff Member To Be ‘First Responder’
December 18, 2012: Ohio AG DeWine Hopes To Crack Down On Schools That Don't File Safety Plans
July 24, 2012: 150 Ohio Schools Out Of Compliance With Safety Information

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