Board of Education Safety and Security Resolution
August 14, 2018
Read by Mr. Laurin Sprague on behalf of the HCSD Board of Education
On behalf of the Hamilton City School District Board of Education let me start off by thanking all of the people of Hamilton who chose to be a part of our recent town hall safety meeting and to all who spoke and also contacted the Board regarding the arming of staff within our schools. We have heard from many parents, students, teachers and community members. Through this time we have heard viewpoints that support the arming of personnel and also those who do not. The topic is an important one that deserves the attention that it has generated. The Board is thankful for the number of people who are earnestly interested in the safety of our students and staff and have been willing to share in this process.
The Board is also thankful for the continued collaborative working arrangement that the district has with Chief Craig Bucheit and the Hamilton City Police Department. We look forward to working with HPD in starting the selection process for the addition of two more school resource officers that we have requested. Beyond that the Board is hopeful that we will be able to add additional School Resource Officers, also known as SRO’s, so there is an SRO in every school in the district. Adding these SRO’s is contingent upon the successful passing of the county wide school safety levy in the November election.
The Board is very excited about the continued implementation of mental health services for every school in our district. Right now we have mental health services on site, available daily in 6 of our 13 schools. By the end of the 2018-19 school year all 13 buildings will have appropriate mental health services on site, everyday of the school year. This component of mental health services should serve to be the biggest and the most impactful piece of our comprehensive safety efforts. We would like to celebrate this milestone and to recognize the efforts of our Director of Student Services, Mike Wright, and his work with the Mindpeace group toward making these critical resources a reality for our students, our families and our district.
Regarding the topic of arming school personnel. First, please know that the Board recognizes the gravity of this decision and just like everyone else our overriding desire is to keep our students and staff as safe as we possibly can. With this in mind, the Board feels that it needs to have all of the facts before it can move forward with this decision. Currently the Board does not feel that we will have all the information we need to make this decision until we know the results of the county wide school safety levy in November. Therefore, the Board will not pursue the implementation of any armed personnel in our schools until the levy results are available. Our reason for this delay is because the Board wants to know if we will be able to afford school resource officers in all of our buildings and that is dependent of the passing of the levy. The Board feels the reality of SRO’s in all of our buildings greatly lessens or could possibly negate the need for armed personnel, so we are willing to wait to make our decision.
Furthermore, the Board has decided regardless of the levy outcome that Hamilton teachers will not be armed. The board does, however, want to keep open the possibility of arming other school personnel (some classified or administrative) in the voluntary, well trained status that has been discussed to this point. To that end, we have directed Superintendent Knapp to gather more information of current non-teaching personnel who are currently in the district and have a military or law enforcement background. We will not be accepting any applications or starting any training with anyone who might be interested in volunteering. The gathering of this information is simply another part of the Board’s desire to have all of the needed information available to make informed decisions when, and if, the time comes.
We are also directing our Superintendent to schedule and conduct more town hall type meetings to inform our parents and community members about how the district is currently spending money on our school safety efforts and what we anticipate our safety costs to be in the future. We know that our community needs this information from us so they can in turn make an informed decision on whether to support the county wide school safety levy in November.
In closing, let me once again thank everyone who has helped us in this process. It is our pledge to you all that we will continue to keep you informed of our progress in this matter of safety for our students and staff.
I would now like to make a motion that this statement and the directives contained within become an entry into the Board minutes of tonight’s meeting so it will become a matter of record.