CENTENARY — Gallipolis City School District held a safety informational meeting Tuesday evening at Gallia Academy. Members of the school board were present to field questions as were Safety Director Troy Johnson, Gallia Sheriff Matt Champlin, and Gallipolis Police Chief Jeff Boyer.
Johnson presented at length about how the district prepares for emergency situations through planning, procedures, and equipment in each of the buildings to protect students.
This open forum was held for several reasons, primarily in response to the increasing number of attacks in schools across the country. Johnson has worked with other local agencies including Gallia 911 and law enforcement to continue to develop policies and procedures in light of information coming from other incidents.
“One of example of this is Columbine. Two of the students that survived that day were in the library, and most of the students in the library did not survive. But those two students fled, so we need to have evacuation as an option,” said Johnson.
In the past, policy has been strictly to lock down and remain in the classrooms. Information gained from events in the past have led to this change in response.
Many of the policies held by the district presented Tuesday had to do with emergency situations, ranging from prevention to reaction. The district offers a mental health and counseling service that is available after a crisis situation and any time. This service includes a bullying tip line to help students who are bullied.
Several items were discussed from a district wish list regarding emergency preparation. One of those items was trauma kits; a kit able to provide emergency trauma care to various kinds of severe wounds.
“One of the things that we see, that we saw at Parkland, after these events EMS are not immediately allowed to go in, and that has been a hot topic as of late,” said Johnson. “There are normally two squads in the entire county. Having trauma kits here and accessible would be huge. We host many events here at the school, there can be a lot of people in our building all the time and having these kinds of devices could save lives.”
Before the Parkland incident, Johnson reached out to the Director of School Safety in Ohio and invited her to come to the district and review their facilities and policies.
“We walked her through the district and the things we were doing and our policy and before she left she said ‘I want to tell you right now, your school district is in the top one percent in the state when it comes to security measures,’” said Johnson.
“Several people have approached me and asked what we are doing in light of school shootings like Parkland,” said Champlin. “I am very happy to be able to look those folks in the eye and say we are already doing it, we’ve been doing it for several years.”
More details on this meeting in an upcoming edition of the Gallipolis Daily Tribune.
Reach Morgan McKinniss at 740-446-2342 ext 2108.