City wants only SROs bearing guns
by DELANEY WALKER, Banner Staff Writer
Feb 05, 2013 | 936 views | 0 0 comments | 7 7 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Cleveland Board of Education members Monday evening adopted a resolution stating school resource officers should be the only individuals with weapons on school property.

Martin Ringstaff, director of city schools, reaffirmed the board’s stance prior to presenting the resolution.

“There has been a lot of discussion about teachers carrying weapons in schools and I have been outspoken on that topic,” Ringstaff said. “It is our belief school resource officers should be the only ones carrying guns on campus.”

The board outlined its stance in the resolution.

“Whereas, the Cleveland City School Board supports the Zero Tolerance Policy in order to ensure a safe and secure learning environment, individuals shall not possess, handle, transmit, use or attempt to use any dangerous weapons in school buildings or on school grounds at any time ...,” Ringstaff read.

The Zero Tolerance Policy covers school grounds, school vehicles and/or buses and school-sponsored activities off school grounds.

According to the resolution, “the only individuals allowed on school grounds at any time in possession of any type of weapon are members of the law enforcement agencies trained in crisis management and weaponry use ...”

There are currently SROs at every city school, with the exception of E.L. Ross Elementary and Yates Primary. The two schools currently share an SRO. The board has been in discussion with Cleveland Mayor Tom Rowland and the Cleveland Police Department to rectify the situation.

It is the intention of the school board to hire two new resource officers by August. One will be placed at either Yates Primary or Ross Elementary. The other will be added to the SRO already in place at Cleveland High School.

The resolution ended with two firm points.

“Now, therefore be it resolved, that the Cleveland City Board of Education: Supports school resources officers on every school campus; and supports that only law enforcement agency personnel are the only individuals allowed to carry weapons, concealed or visible, on school grounds in any capacity,” Ringstaff read.

A copy of the resolution will be sent to state Rep. Kevin Brooks.

Actions have been taken to ensure continued school safety, according to Ringstaff.

Paul Ramsey, energy education specialist, and Ringstaff recently attended a school safety summit.

“We will continue to look at bigger and better and easier ways to protect our students,” Ringstaff said.

Murl Dirksen, site committee chair, gave a presentation on the various properties under consideration for the new elementary school. According to Ringstaff, the property on Georgetown Road appears the best option, at $1.15 million. The Georgetown property can be bought grade ready, whereas the other property would need additional work.

Conversation continues between the school system and the city government.

“The city [officials] have been very good with working with us. I think they know we are coming,” Ringstaff said. “Obviously we are trying to be good stewards of the taxpayers’ money. We want the very best property at the cheapest rate.”

A technology report was given by Andrew Phillips. He updated board members on the continuing iPad pilot program. Cleveland High School, Cleveland Middle School and Blythe-Bower Elementary each have a class of 25 students enrolled in the program.

Phillips said testing scores have come back positive, though definitive results will not be available until after spring assessments.

He also said Apple has created a way to restrict texting between iPads.

“When we started this project there was no way to turn texting off,” Phillips said. “We are currently trying to make sure the program will not destroy everything else we are trying to do.”

Phillips continued, “Overall, I am pleased. Like with any pilot program, there are challenges, but we are working through those.”

E.L. Ross Elementary employees of the month were recognized at Monday night’s meeting. They were Andrea Byerly and Laura Martin. Each was described as having a positive attitude and a good work ethic.