Improving school safety

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, August 9, 2022

State releases money to improve safety of local schools

In an effort to help make Ohio’s schools safer, Gov. Mike DeWine announced on Tuesday that more than 1,000 kindergarten, middle schools, high schools and vocational schools will be receiving funds to pay for security upgrades that enhance the safety of students and staff.

And four school systems in Lawrence County will being getting some of those funds.

Email newsletter signup

Rock Hill, Chesapeake and Fairland will get $50,000 per school, for a total of $150,000. The Lawrence County Joint Vocational School will be getting $50,000. All the schools received the maximum amount under the governor’s Ohio K-12 School Safety Grant Program.

The funds will cover expenses associated with physical security enhancements such as security cameras, public address systems, automatic door locks, visitor badging systems and exterior lighting.

“With the start of the new school year quickly approaching, we want students, staff and parents to know that we care about school safety, and we’re working every day to make sure that rural, urban and suburban schools alike have the safety and security resources they need,” said DeWine. “Helping schools pay for important security improvements is just one component of our comprehensive school safety approach that also supports the mental wellbeing of our kids and the work of local law enforcement to prevent crime.”

DeWine launched the K-12 School Safety Grant Program last year with an appropriation of $5 million in Senate Bill 310 of the 133rd General Assembly, which was awarded in May to 98 schools in 27 counties. No Lawrence County schools were on that list.

This year, the Governor and legislature partnered to increase the grant program by an additional $100 million with support from the American Rescue Plan Act.

The 1,183 schools selected to receive funding each applied for but did not receive funds in the first grant awards.

DeWine also announced that Mary Davis, former executive director of the Ohio Peace Officer Training Academy, has been selected to serve as the as chief training officer overseeing OSSC’s new Safety & Crisis Division.

House Bill 99, which was signed by DeWine in June, created the Safety & Crisis Division to develop and provide training for school staff members whose districts opt to allow certain employees to be armed on school grounds.