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South Jefferson Central School District discusses safety at forum

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ADAMS — Parents, students and administrators had an opportunity to discuss their concerns about safety within the South Jefferson Central School District at a forum Tuesday evening.

About 50 people were in the auditorium of South Jefferson High School to discuss building security, emergency plans and the need for school law enforcement support with Superintendent Jamie A. Moesel and the district Board of Education.

Mrs. Moesel started the forum by running through emergency situations the district had dealt with in the past 25 years, from the 1987 explosion at Maynard P. Wilson Elementary School in Adams Center to police arrests near school buildings to weapons found in vehicles near school buildings.

“We have such a good school and good community, you wouldn’t think those things happen,” she said.

Several people during the evening voiced support for the return of a school resource officer, a program that ran from 2001 to 2010.

Mrs. Moesel said funding could be made available this year by the state or federal government to pay for the return of the position. The suggestion that a village of Adams Police Department officer could be used was knocked down, as the district fell outside of its jurisdiction.

One item noted by Mrs. Moesel was the flexibility schools have to change things such as which exterior doors are locked to improve safety.

Other questions asked included how many times students were prepped for emergency situations such as school shootings, how the district talked to young students about shootings and how buildings are cleared following evening events. Also discussed were ideas to increase the capabilities for greeters, such as installing a panic button to call more easily for police help.

Mrs. Moesel said the district had worked hard to emphasize safety following a 2006 shooting at an Amish school in Bart Township, Pa.

“Every district has a moment when they realize they have to be better than they are,” she said.

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