Dallas LeDuff, director of Student Services for Oconee County Schools, assured members of the Board of Education on Monday that Oconee County Schools have procedures in place to provide safety at the system’s campuses.
Included, LeDuff said, are surveillance cameras in every building and on each school bus and security vestibules at the school buildings with remote locking mechanisms that deny access to the students in the schools.
LeDuff made no mention of the Parkland, Fla., or other school shootings, but he said that last year all staff were trained in civilian response to active shooters by the Oconee County Sheriff’s Office.
School staff will be participating in refresher Response To Active Shooter Training by the Sheriff’s Office shortly and will be reminded of specific strategies for responding to active shooters, LeDuff said.
Consistent with Board of Education policy for work sessions, Board Chair Tom Odom did not allow any questions or comments from citizens following LeDuff’s presentation.
Security In Place
“School safety is a conversation that school leaders are having with local law enforcement and our emergency management agency at an ongoing pace,” LeDuff said at the beginning of his nearly 12-minutes presentation.
|LeDuff Before Board 3/5/2018|
“It is always at the forefront of our minds in our work because keeping our students and staff (safe) is, always will be, our number one priority,” he said.
All schools have an individualized emergency plan that outlines specific procedures on how that school is going to respond in an emergency situation, LeDuff said.
“In addition to those plans, we also hold lockdown drills, severe weather drills and fire drills on a regular basis,” LeDuff added.
Lock Down Drills
Lock down drills are held twice a year, LeDuff told the Board.
“In that situation, students and staff practice on how to react to a physical threat being present inside of the building or on campus,” he explained.
The Sheriff’s Office is always present at those drills, according to LeDuff, and the Sheriff’s staff provide feedback on what was done and what could be improved.
LeDuff said that the school principals are the key to school safety, and “We have asked them to review their safety plans in their buildings to insure that their staff is prepared to respond in any emergency situation.”
The School System also has Stop the Bleeding training for nurses and staff scheduled. In the past, only nurses were trained, LeDuff said.
Dove Creek Contract
Brock Toole, chief Operations Officer for Oconee County Schools, told the Board that the Oconee County Public Works Department had equipment on site at Dove Creek Elementary School under construction on Hog Mountain Road
Work was to begin this week on the re-alignment of V.M. Osborne Road, consistent with the promise given the Board at its Feb. 5 meeting by Oconee County Board of Commissioners Chair John Daniell, Toole said.
Toole also said the contract for the entrances to the new school off Hog Mountain Road also is on schedule
The deadline for the submission of bids for that work, according to the county web site, is March 23.
Katie Tiller, a reporter for The Oconee Enterprise, asked if she could ask a question at the end of LeDuff’s presentation.
Board of Education Chair Tom Odom said she could not.
Board Policy is to accept public comment only “at regular monthly meetings, at public forums, and at such other times as may be necessary.”
Monday’s meeting was a work session.
Time Limit On Comments
Citizens who want to speak to the Board at a regular meeting should provide a written request to Superintendent Jason Branch at least five days prior to the regular meeting and should state the topic or issue to be addressed, according to Board policy.
Those citizens will be given time on the agenda to speak for up to five minutes.
After citizens on the agenda have completed their remarks, the Chair will recognize individuals in the audience who signed in before the meeting expressing their desire to address the Board, according to the policy.
These individuals will be allowed three minutes to speak.
The video below is of the entire March 5 meeting of the Board of Education, held in the Superintendent’s Office in Watkinsville.
LeDuff began his presentation to the Board at 7:35 in the video.
Tiller asked if she could ask a question at 22:33 in the video.
Toole spoke about Dove Creek Elementary School beginning at 33:45 in the video.