The more we hear about shootings at schools around the country, the more concerned we, parents, get regarding safety at our own schools. This concern has been voiced a few times at PTO meetings but never addressed in a proactive way from the community side. We expect Manheim Township School District to address any and all safety issues in any of the schools. However, more and more parents are wondering how much the district can actually do with the usual bureaucratic limitations of a school district and if/how we can help. At the end of the last school year we had a meeting with representatives of the other PTOs from Manheim Township Schools to brainstorm on what would be the measures required to assure the safety of our students and faculty, and how the PTOs could assist on implementation. One of the parents from Bucher is heading this initiative and approached this subject with our school district. This past Monday, Sept 17, there was a meeting with parents and the district at the Manheim Township Library on School Safety. Assistant Superintendent Dr. Dale Reinman and Safety Coordinator Bette Oberle spoke to the PTOs parents about the information gathered on previous school shooting episodes in our country and what they are doing to be insure the safety of our schools. They explained ALICE training, which they have been rolling out since the beginning of this calendar year to the faculty and staff, and to students from K to 12 the first half of this school year. ALICE, an acronym for Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter and Evacuate, is a comprehensive training program to increase the chances of survival in case of an active shooter intrusion. They addressed the school entrances, how for several schools it is easy to walk through the front doors and how they are working on changing that. One of the main difficulties in implementing a safety measure in a school is that it needs to me uniform throughout the public schools in the district. We also talked about how a grant would be a great funding opportunity. Suggestions were made for ways the community can contribute to this cause, such as supplying certain tools for the classrooms or raising money. There will be another meeting for the combined PTOs to discuss how we will roll out this initiative in the schools. For now, we are happy to say that the Manheim Township PTOs have joined effort with the district to raise the safety level of our schools and the future is looking promising.
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