The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

April 23, 2013

Geneva students get day off school for safety’s sake

By MARGIE NETZEL - mnetzel@starbeacon.com
Star Beacon

GENEVA —  Geneva students will not have school on May 13 as district teachers and staff attend more safety and lockdown training, Superintendent Mary Zappitelli said.

“The Ohio Department of Education has granted our district a waiver day for safety training,” she said. “The staff will spend the day in training sessions related to school safety and security.”

Zappitelli said the training will include continued training in the Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter, and Evacuate (ALICE) procedures, CPR and automated electronic defibrillator training, Perry Nuclear Power Plant emergency planning and first aid.

The CPR training will be provided by University Hospitals, Geneva Medical Center.

Zappitelli said the ALICE training and training for other “lockdown” situations has become a part of public education, like it or not.

“In the past, schools across the country, including ours, have prepared by implementing a procedure known as ‘lockdown,’” she said, “This was designed as a response to an unauthorized person entering a school building or school grounds. When a lockdown alert is given, students and staff are instructed to lock down their classrooms and shelter in place.”

Geneva’s district-wide training program was funded completely by the district’s Parent Teacher Organization.

To further the efforts, the PTO also organized a “GO Bucket” system for each building. The drives put a 5-gallon bucket filled with emergency supplies in each classroom, to be used in case of a lockdown.

Waste Management and the Geneva Rotary also recently donated $1,000 each toward the GO Bucket program.

Zappitelli said she is encouraged by the community’s support of the safety training and understands what a waiver day means for working parents.

“I understand that it is not easy for parents to find someone to watch their children for a day, but we hope they know that we appreciate the parent support we have experience in our ALICE training as we continue to prepare for emergencies,” she said.