By Lois Mittino Gray
A report on a simulated shooter scenario practiced by law enforcement officers and education staff at Farmersville Elementary School was the highlight of the Mount Vernon School Board meeting on Monday, March 4. Posey County Sheriff Greg Oeth explained that it was an active noisy after-school drill which involved no students or live ammo, but had over 30 law enforcement officers from city, county and state agencies taking notes as well as administrators from the North Posey School District.
“We all learned so much from our response and a few staff members were visibly shaken. It was only seven minutes long, but staff members stayed until 5 p.m. talking about it and then they were ready to talk about it some more the next day,” Oeth said. He was impressed with the dialogue afterwards among all agencies and spoke that evening with the Superintendent of the Indiana State Police since a SWAT team was involved. Educators and law agencies had trained separately, but not together before this.
David Frye, Director of Buildings and Grounds for the school corporation and the Principal at Farmersville Elementary, remarked that by talking things over afterwards it will reinforce procedures that went well and will involve changes in others. “We already changed a piece of technology used that day and will need to work out all the bugs,” he said “We are looking at things learned, especially from the Virginia Tech studies, and then applying them to ourselves with what works and what we shouldn’t do.”
School Board Member Brian Jeffries, one of two board members who attended the simulation said “You can put many plans together on paper, but to put so many individuals actually in this mindset made for a great product. We need to do this at every school building in the future as all individuals need to experience this training event”. Jeffries was impressed with the dedication of the educators and with the level of law enforcement support and said “we are taking a good relationship to a whole new level here.” The other attendee, Board Member Clarence Nelson added, “We can study what to do in a classroom, but it is always different when you actually put it into practice.”
School Superintendent Tom Kopatich agreed that in the future the district will look at doing practice simulations like this in other school buildings as each one is unique. “I have no doubt that all of our teachers and staff will protect students to the final hour, but we want the staff protected too. It was a good drill all around.”
Frye summed it up by noting “We often practice fire and storm drills now, but in today’s day and age, we need more.”
In other board business:
–All the buzz on Facebook this past weekend was the great success of the Chess Teams of West and Marrs coached by Mr. Douglas Hamm that are going on to state competition in Terre Haute. “They say it’s the most quiet competition ever,” laughed Board Member Beth McFaddin Higgins. “And such great behavior.”
–The MVHS Dance Cats competed in Crawfordsville in the Regionals of the Indiana High School Dance Team Association and have advanced to state competition in
Newcastle on March 15-16 in all three categories: Jazz, Hip Hop and Large Ensemble.
–Kelly Cox was hired as girls’ head soccer coach replacing Elizabeth Castle. Christine Franklin (50 percent) and Michelle Johnson (50 percent) were hired as girls’ assistant coaches. Resignations were accepted from Michelle Buchanan and Jamalynn Tekoppel in those positions. William Riecken was hired as a carpenter replacing Andrew Duckworth and Jason Reeves as the Information Systems Foreman replacing Justen Noyes. Lori Higgins received a medical leave with pay until the end of semester two of this school year.
–A Teamster’s Memorandum of Understanding, a tentative agreement has been reached with the custodial and maintenance personnel for a three year term until December 31, 2015. Contract language will not be reopened annually, only wages and wage-related fringe benefits will be discussed annually.
–Approved Sunday student activities and use of facilities, including the MVSH Marching Band Trip to Orlando, Fla., on December 26-30, 2013.
–Entered into test plot lease agreements with Cargill, Ports of Indiana (no charge) and Jim and Idella Davis (2/5 profit) for the MVHS Agriculture Program.
–granted permission to advertise on March 13 and 20 for proposals for an after school program for 2013-2014 school year. Proposals are due by 10 a.m. on Wednesday, April 3.
–passed a resolution to transfer $400,000 from the Capital Projects Fund and $200,000 from the Transportation Fund for a total of $600,000 into the Rainy Day Fund.
–discussed options to consider for a calendar for the 2013-2014 school year for discussion at the next meeting.
–received a letter of congratulations on being a Riley Hospital School Corporation
–approved several travel opportunities for staff.
–announced ISTEP began on Monday, March 4 with just a sixth grade math pencil test. Tuesday March 5 starts testing for everybody else online. “Technology is a wonderful thing. Let’s hope it all works fine and falls into place,” Kopatich said optimistically.
–approved reports and meeting dates. The next meeting is Monday, March 18 at 5:45 p,m. in the Mount Vernon Junior High School Library,
By Lois Mittino Gray
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