School safety review raises some eyebrows

Monday, May 7, 2007
Jessie Covert holds a ewe while Beth Evans conducts a retinal scan of the animal Saturday at the Putnam County Fairgrounds to register the animal for the 4-H sheep livestock project.

The Putnam County Safe Schools Committee conducted a building review for the first time since its inception, and that inspection revealed a few concerns.

The committee has existed for several years now, but has never conducted an onsite building review.

But recently, North Putnam Community School Corp. Assistant Supt. and committee member Kevin Emsweller volunteered his corporation to be the first to have a building inspected by the committee and it chose to review Roachdale Elementary.

On Thursday, site reviewer and committee member Tom Standers revealed his findings to the committee's safety specialist group.

Standers said he met with Roachdale Principal Helen Blubaum prior to inspecting the building, which took place on April 24.

"Our goal is to find problems," Standers said. "We tried to prepare her for that aspect.

"We found quite a few. Nothing serious, but enough to raise some eyebrows."

Standers said the main concern while conducting the review was unlocked doors in areas across the campus.

"We're not trying to be nit-picky," he said, offering several scenarios to the committee Thursday of what could happen if a door was unlocked and an intruder could get in.

Standers said his site group offered several suggestions to Roachdale officials.

He also pointed out several bright spots for the building, including displays that boost student morale while also seeing no safety concerns in student classrooms.

"All of us felt like this was a very safe school," Standers said.

Meanwhile, Standers gave the committee an update regarding Putnam County National Night Out.

The event is scheduled to take place from 7-10 p.m., Aug. 7, at Robe-Ann Park.

"We're starting off pretty good," Standers said.

National Night Out began in 1984 through the National Association of Town Watch, a nonprofit crime prevention organization. Four-hundred national communities in 23 states took part in the first event in 1984.

The event, according to Standers, provides an opportunity for residents to meet and greet with local law enforcement agencies, along with various vendors and other agencies, which set up shop at the event.

On Thursday, Standers said things are running smoothly in the set up process for Putnam County's first National Night Out.

"The wheels are turning," Standers said. "I'm glad to see some things falling into place."

He added the committee was working on obtaining sponsors for the event.

The group also discussed ways to promote the event, suggesting promotion on school websites and the Putnam County website.

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