Prioritizing Policies

Dawn Roeckner must buzz students and visitors in daily as a part of her job as junior high secretary.

Dawne Roeckner must buzz students and visitors in daily as a part of her job as junior high secretary.

Oakwood has begun a new era of cracking down on policies to make the well-being and safety of the student body its top priority.

The start of the 2015-2016 school year brought many changes for students as well as faculty. The district has implemented changes to some of the school’s policies, including the attendance rules as well as the installation of a security system.

The new attendance code is stated in the student planner as “absences in excess of eight (8) per school year or tardies in excess of five (5) per school year may not be excused by a parent and shall require documentation by the child’s treating physician, nurse practitioner, or physician assistant-unless an absence is otherwise excused by the principal due to an unusual circumstance.”  The adjustments were submitted by board members as well as administrators this past spring.

“The changes were proposed by Mrs. Couch and Mr. Weckstein, they worked on those together, and then they worked with administrators, and then made a proposal to Dr. Ramey, who then took the idea to the Board Of Education,” Paul Waller said.

The Board wanted to make the policies stricter in order to create a balance between all four schools. “I think the main thing was the idea of making sure that there was a consistency between all of the buildings,” Waller said.

The district is making a stronger effort to enforce this policy that was already present in years past, although not as strict.

The administrators are simply making an increased effort to enforce the policy that has stood for many years,” Board member Sam Davis said.

The security system, however, is a brand new aspect of Oakwood. The system was installed in the high school this past spring, but has been present in the elementaries for a few years. The system consists of two main entrances being available during school hours. At said entrances, a person must click a button and wait to be “buzzed in” by either Vicki Roberts or Dawne Roeckner.

The new system as well as the new “ALICE” drill that Oakwood has began practicing are large steps taken towards ensuring the students as well as faculties safety.

“Although it is impossible to guarantee security from unwelcomed visitors in our schools, the new security measures add another barrier between such an incident and our students,” Davis said.

However, the system has received some criticism, especially from seniors who come and go throughout the day due to “senior sign-out.” Waiting to be buzzed in has become a routine for many students throughout their days.

“I don’t know how effective it really is. Since I have first period off, it’s a little excessive having to buzz in every morning. It just seems a little unnecessary when people are having to be let in by others because the buzzer system isn’t working or is getting a slow response. It’s not like we have a particularly unsafe school or a caused reason for the security system,” Elise McCarthy (12) said.

The security system as well as the attendance policy have changed Oakwood’s dynamic while trying to create balance as well as a sense of safety while at school.

“I think it’s good that our community knows that we take safety as a priority for our students, and that we want to make sure our kids are safe, so anything we can do to help that, I think is a good thing,” Waller said.

By: Hollis Couch

couch.hollis@oakwoodschools.org

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