Gahanna-Jefferson school leaders talk to community about school safety


Officials with Gahanna-Jefferson Public Schools say they want to take a proactive approach on school security.

School leaders and first responders held a community conversation Monday night with parents about school safety.

In the audience of about 100 or so, mom Stephanie Dietz is sitting with her 5-year-old Natalie.

Little Natalie is a kindergartner in the Gahanna-Jefferson School District.

Dietz, like the other parents in the middle school auditorium, came to talk about the safety of their students.

"Wondering what they're going to do, especially in light of the Parkland shooting last month. What Gahanna's doing, Gahanna-Jefferson schools as well as the city of Gahanna to protect our kids," Dietz said.

At a community town hall meeting with district officials and first responders, parents asked all of the questions.

"We've been working on things with our first responders since the day after Parkland," Superintendent Steve Barrett said.

Barrett says changes to security within the district could be made soon. He says they'll be working with an outside company to enhance safety at all of its buildings.

"And they're going to help us look at our entrances, our exits and our procedures for checking visitors in. All sorts of things," Barrett said.

School leaders hoped an open conversation would help reassure parents and maybe teach them too.

"I hope they leave with the message of, if you see something, say something," Barrett said.

Parents like Dietz are crafting their own lessons to help protect their kids.

"I'm trying to teach my daughter to be good to everybody," Dietz said.