BEAVERCREEK, Ohio (WDTN) – Weeks before kids return to the classroom, Gov. Mike DeWine announced new measures to address school security at the Ohio School Safety Summit.
In the second round of Ohio K-12 School Safety Grant Program grants, 38 districts in the Miami Valley are receiving part of nearly $47 million to improve school safety and security.
Beavercreek City Schools was granted more than $160,000 through the state.
“As we approach this school year, just like any school year that our students safety is paramount, and it is our number one conversation that goes on right now,” Beavercreek City Schools Director of Student Services Jeff Madden said.
The funding is meant to cover costs to improve physical security like cameras, automatic door locks, lighting and visitor badging systems.
Madden said the district received these funds alongside a small grant from the Ohio Attorney General’s Office. He said school security costs add up, so any aid makes a difference.
“Concerns with school safety are expensive, and the more that the state can help fund those areas, the better off for our community and for our kids,” Madden said.
Sidney City Schools received a more than $280,000 school safety grant. Superintendent Bob Humble said this money will help improve security in their older buildings.
“We don’t have electronic locking doors and we’re going to be able to actually now be able to to to install those in our elementary schools,” Humble said. “We can also improve cameras in those schools and especially in our high school and middle school.”
Also Tuesday, DeWine announced Mary Davis, former executive director of the Ohio Peace Officer Training Academy, will lead the Ohio School Safety Center’s Crisis and Safety Division. The division will develop and provide training for districts that opt to arm staff under House Bill 99.
Sidney City Schools elected to arm teachers several years ago. Humble said this is a big step in reactivating their armed response teams.
“The training program that we had been using through our county sheriff’s office, we’re waiting for that to be approved,” Humble said. “The team members that are already in place are going to automatically then start being, quote, on the team again.”
Madden said the Beavercreek school district is opting out of arming staff at this time. Beavercreek City Schools hired a chief security officer last school year to address building security, and have partnerships with law enforcement to respond if an active threat occurs.