Perrysburg Schools make proactive adjustments towards student safety, no school for May election

Perrysburg Schools make proactive adjustments towards student safety, no school for May election
(Source: WTOL)

PERRYSBURG, OH (WTOL) - After the shooting in Parkland Florida that claimed the lives of 17 people, schools across the county have tackled the topic of safety.

"I think it impacted parents in a different way," said Perrysburg Schools Superintendent Tom Hosler. "Parents are telling me that they are just more nervous than they have been in the past."

Perrysburg Schools are making a unique adjustment to their school schedule to better address those nerves.

"This is important and just about the right time to think about it," said Sam Dutta, who has a daughter at Perrysburg Schools.

For parents the safety of their children is paramount. That concern is also echoed by school district leaders. After several school shootings already this year, together they are learning what they can do better.

"Obviously this last event has really created a huge ripple effect not only in Perrysburg, but across the county," explained Tom Hosler. "So, we've continued to look at our practices and listen to parent's feedback and concern, that's very important and also listen to students concern as well. We want to make sure we are addressing those things."

While the school has always been closed on election day in November, they recently decided they would also be closed during the May election. Six of their seven schools are polling locations and open to the public-therefore more accessible than normal.

"We began to look at what we would have to do to make sure that everyone is comfortable doing what we've always done, but understanding that people have a different feel about it today and that's real," explained Hosler. "It's just in everyone's best interest to not have students in the building."

"The more you think about it thoroughly and the more you think about it long term of how this is going to work out, I think this was needed," said Sam Dutta, a Perrysburg parent. "It's very reassuring. I am grateful that you know Perrysburg has taken that step forward."

Students won't attend classes on May 8th, but teachers, administrators, support staff and substitutes will. They will have in depth ALICE training, go over threat protocols and run interactive scenarios with the Perrysburg Police Department.

"This gives us a real sense of timing in that everybody can sit down," explained Hosler about their idea to turn the election day into training for staff in addition to their beginning of the year training. "We're not ready to open the school the next day, we're not thinking about other things this is our focus right here today."

Superintendent Tom Hosler says the district is also planning to talk with parents about their procedures and goals for the safety of their 5,800 students and staff.

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