Board of education briefs on safety, security

By Travis Smola

School safety was again on the Schoolcraft board of education’s December agenda as Superintendent Rick Frens gave a short update on the results of a security assessment performed in November.

For security reasons, Frens said he didn’t feel comfortable sharing all the safety areas that were discussed in the assessment at a public meeting. However, he noted that the district’s employees received high marks on their dedication and commitment to the safety of the students.

Assessors made suggestions about improvements in window and glass treatments, improvements to room numbering, additions to emergency classroom go bags and an audit of the school’s PA system.

The assessment also suggested fixing a few door hardware issues and improvements to the school’s communication systems, something the district is already working on. It just bought some new digital radios to help with connecting classrooms with the office in an emergency, “putting some things in place even before the report came out that we had some areas we had to work on in communications,” Frens said.

For emphasis on how quickly things go bad in an emergency, Frens held up his cell phone: “These are not effective, especially in a crisis.”

Frens gave the board members packets with a more detailed breakdown of the assessment and the suggestions going forward. He also noted that the high school will receive wiring for a security camera system over the winter break, something that Frens has been pushing for since his arrival in the district.

“We’re feeling good about the direction we’re going, but we certainly have areas to improve on, and to always pay attention to,” Frens said. “Safety is our number one goal.”

In other news, board members and staff expressed thanks to Trustee Jill VanDyken-Hunt for her service during six years on the board. VanDyken-Hunt’s term expired in December, and she elected not to run for another term. At the end of the meeting, she thanked her fellow trustees and the community for their support during her term.

“We have done a lot in six years,” VanDyken-Hunt said. “We had a rocky start. We were not in a great place. And we have truly landed in a great place. I’m proud of it.”

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