The K-12 schooling experience across our country has evolved in the past decade, bringing us new and some alarming challenges each day. These challenges force us to recognize increased threats to school safety and security and increased mental health needs in our children. As parents, educators, and community members who care for the children in our community, we have no choice but to face these challenges head-on.
For many years, Sylvania Schools has been a leader in school safety and security work, and we pride ourselves on the strides we have made. Since 2011, our district safety and security committee, a team of teachers, administrators, parents, police officers, firefighters and emergency responders, along with local government leaders, has met monthly to address the increasing safety and security needs in our schools. The implementation of A.L.I.C.E. training for staff, students, and parents, the installation of lexan glass and door restraints in all of our schools, the designation and renovation of safe rooms fully stocked and in place in each building, and a strong focus on mental health awareness have all been successfully accomplished. But, this feeling of accomplishment and any lessening of vigilance it brought was challenged on Valentine’s Day, February 14, 2018.
This was a day no educators will ever forget. The unfortunate tragedy of Parkland, Florida raised an alarm like no other to school districts all across the country, including Sylvania. A sudden and very boisterous cry from our own community began. That message was clear, “We want you to do more to keep our kids safe!” It rang loudly at every school building, community event, and public space across Sylvania. As a school district, we knew we had to continue our trend in leadership and meet this challenge by developing a plan to answer the community’s cry.
Our schools are safe, but they must be safer. We encourage you to learn more about Issue #7 to see how, with your support, we can make our schools even safer to prevent tragedies like those in Parkland. With the passage of Issue #7, a special levy that is designed specifically to support safety, security, and mental health needs, collected funds will allow the district to hire three additional school resource uniformed Sylvania police officers, one for each junior high school, bringing our total, with one at each high school already, to five overall in our schools. The funds will add mental health support to all of our buildings at all levels in the form of additional school counselors, social workers, and mental health specialists. They will enable us to install state of the art security cameras both internally and externally in all of our schools. And they will help us provide the most up-to-date safety training possible for our staff. Issue #7 is a 0.9 mill special levy and will cost the homeowner of an average home in Sylvania ($191,000) $5.26 a month, or around $63.00 a year. It is a small price to pay for the increased security it will bring to the schools and the community that nurtures them and provides us more security in an effort to avoid the unthinkable consequences other communities have endured through school-related tragedies.
Sylvania Schools need your support. Issue #7 is not just about making our schools safer, but it is truly about making Sylvania safer. Our kids are our future. Sylvania must continue to be at the forefront as a school district, face our challenges head-on, and remain a community that is proactive, not reactive, to school safety. Please help us to be the Sylvania that strives to be the safest community in Northwest Ohio to live, learn, and raise a family!
Safe Schools = A Safe Sylvania.