Safety and firearms have been on the minds of many Americans since Nikolas Cruz attacked his former school, Stoneman Douglas High in Parkland, Florida with an AR-15 assault rifle on Feb. 14.
“School safety has been on the minds of many in our community,” said Superintendent Todd Cutler. “We will continue to work closely with our police department.”
Board President Robert Warren reported that he was part of a long and productive conversation about the topic in a regular meeting between members of the board and city council.
“It was one of the longest 2-by-2 meetings. We spent almost an hour talking about school safety and working with the city and police and fire department to work on a plan,” said Warren. “We want to make sure to be on the same page. We all came out of there on better terms.”
To improve the perception of safety on all school campuses, the board added a section into the official board policies about firearms.
Possession of any firearm is prohibited within 1,000 feet of a school site, including any school building, athletic field or parking lot.
Trustee Rudolph Muldong clarified during the review of updated policies on Thursday, March 1, that the policy had no jurisdiction into residences located within the 1,000-foot perimeter.
“I don’t want the community to think we’re encroaching on people’s private property,” he said.
Any student with a firearm on campus faces immediate expulsion.
The policy also reinforces strong communication between the district and law enforcement to provide for student safety.
Roy Owens, director of facilities and maintenance for the district, presented a detailed plan for the department’s summer work schedule. The list included repairs and smaller jobs around the school sites, unlike the big projects covered by bond funding.
The priorities were previously approved projects that have yet to be completed: improving the parking lots at Waggoner Elementary School and the middle school and fixing the heating, ventilation and air system at the middle school.
Another focus of the maintenance team will be updating the John Clayton campus so the preschool can move inside the main structure and the Career Readiness Academy can occupy the portable, which formerly housed the preschool.
Restrooms at the high school will also see an update and Owens plans to oversee painting and maintenance on athletic fields at the middle school before the 2018-19 school year.
Trustees Muldong and Carrie Green brought up concerns about staffing and having sufficient manpower to complete all of the projects. Owens responded that the positions were all filled with highly competent employees and appeared confident about accomplishing the high priority tasks.
Presentations and awards
The high school’s police cadets presented their program to the board. Led by Community Services Officer Gail Jimenez and Officer Alan Pinette, the program exposes cadets between the ages of 15 and 21 to all aspects of law enforcement to prepare them for a career in the field.
Pinette served as a police cadet with Dixon High School and said that the cadets are considered future leaders in the community and are held to a high moral standard.
He stated that the program also help build an alliance with the youth and the community.
Winters Elementary Students were awarded with Star Awards for academic achievement, improvement and citizenship.
Frances Lundy, Julia Demment, Jocelyn Murillo, Samantha Villegas, Nani Tukumoeatu, Alejandro Ramos, Marcos Jimenez Bermudez, Andrea Figueroa and Jayleana Jimenez received the awards.
Trustee Mike Olivas requested the consideration of a third bond to ensure completion of the new building funded by Measures R and D.
Cutler responded that he would put a consultation with financial advisor Greg Isom on a future meeting agenda.
Cutler also stated that the plan for the abandoned building, which formerly housed Wolfskill Continuation High School, will be on the April 5 agenda.