Local schools fail to submit school safety plans, violate state law

11:11 PM, Sep 4, 2013   |    comments
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CLEVELAND -- More than 3 dozen Northeast Ohio schools are violating state law, by not submitting floor plans, or emergency operations safety plans with the Ohio Attorney General's Office.

"If I was a parent of that school, and they were out of compliance, I would call the superintendent, " said Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine.

School shootings across the country and in Northeast Ohio are leading to increased training on how to handle an active shooter in a school.

Precious seconds depend on good safety plans.

That's why the Ohio Attorney General's Office manages an online database where any law enforcement agency can pull up a school floor plan and safety plan at a moment's notice.

It's the law.

In 2007 the Ohio legislature required all schools to submit plans to the state -- and update them every three years.

So why are some schools dragging their feet?

We found all five Beachwood city schools among 157 Ohio schools that haven't submitted plans in the last three years.

A filing oversight, says Superintendent Richard Markwardt, who maintains that the district has a very strong safety plan.

Markwardt assured parents that safety is the top priority of Beachwood City Schools, and promised to address the oversight promptly.

A spokesperson for the Ohio Attorney General's Office confirmed Wednesday, that all Beachwood Schools are now in full compliance of state law.

But perhaps of most concern to the attorney general, is that out of more than 4,100 schools in the state, 23 have never submitted a safety plan.

On the list: all five schools in the Green Local School District.

The district blames a recent change in leadership and says it's working closely with  with local law enforcement on its safety plan, which it calls a work in progress.

The district points to half a million dollars in recent security improvements, including cameras and security vestibules.

"We didn't want to put out a quick fix plan to satisfy the compliance issues," said Wendall Jackson, Director of Operations for Green Local Schools. "What we wanted to do, was take as much time as we possibly could, and come up with the best plan."

Jackson says the district should be able to update the floor plan in the next couple of months, and finalize its emergency operations safety plan by December.

 

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