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Hazelwood School Board, Patrons Get Update on School Security

By Jeremy Thomas

The recent Hazelwood School board meeting followed their current trend of having a big turnout of community support, but this time the members of local police and fire departments were involved. The meeting was actually dedicated to the Hazelwood School Board, as part of the nationwide School Board recognition month. The meeting which lasted just over three hours was headline by the appreciation, support, and acknowledgment of our local police and fireman.

Florissant Mayor  Thomas P. Schneider made a brief appearance to recognize the policemen and firemen in attendance. One of the main reasons for the men in uniform being at this meeting was because several topics discussed revolved around new school security measures to try and prevent a Sandy Hook incident.

The men in uniform were introduced with about a two-minute long standing ovation and expressed their gratitude to the audience along with the school board.  “We take honor in keeping the schools safe, children safe, and the community safe; we’re also really excited about our renewal relationship with the Hazelwood community,” Florissant Police Chef  Timothy J. Lowery said.

“We have been updated on all the new School Safety procedures around the area and we will continue to do whatever it takes to provide these students with the best safety while they are in school,” Lowery said. Florissant Police are providing a School Resources Officer (SRO) at Northwest Middle School, which is within the city limits.

Julia Thrope, assistant superintendent for student services, provided an in-depth presentation over school safety.  “We have implemented several new safety procedures that include new door locks that will be controlled by remote access,” Thrope said. “We will also start labeling our classrooms windows so first responders can identify which room to go to in the event of an emergency, and we have revised our intruder lockdown procedure.”

In her  presentation she mentioned that district officials have met with several area organizations regarding new safety protocols and procedures. The organizations include the Florissant, Blackjack, Hazelwood, Ferguson, Robertson, and Spanish Lake Fire and police departments.

The presentation was proceeded by Superintendent Grayling Tobias presented a plaque to each of his board members for their hard work and dedication on the board thus far. Perhaps one of the more interesting topics during the meeting was the presentation from Crystal Reiter, assistant superintendent for learning and her staff over Social Justice and Women’s Studies classes.

The class basically described how women’s role in society has changed over the years. Students from Hazelwood East, and Central were able to go to the front of the boardroom and express their point of view from taking the class.

“Being enrolled in this course enabled me to understand that women do not have to play a subordinate role in this society,” Keira Sanders student at Hazelwood East High School said.

“Women’s Studies deeply opened my knowledge of women’s role in our society, this course has highly motivated me and prepared me for further success,” said one student from Hazelwood Central High School said.

The other main topic discussed during the meeting were the Mid-Year Accountability Reports from elementary schools such as; Arrowpoint, Garrett, Lusher, Walker, and North Middle. Each school’s principal gave a presentation over how their school numbers are looking compared to the state average.

The positive note is that each school has raised their percentage of school testing numbers from 2011-2012; however the schools are still slightly below the state average.

Towards the end of the meeting two patrons were able to express anything they had to say to the board.

“I appreciate all the time, effort, and dedication this school board and community officers have put into the safety of our kids,” Kristen Abbot parent of a Walker Elementary student said.

Sarah M. third grade teacher at Lusher Elementary extended an invitation to watch or participate in Lusher’s Read, Write marathon.

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