BELMONT COUNTY, Ohio (WTRF) –
After a dramatic school bus fight last school year, Union Local School officials are continuing their emphasis on safety.
Their superintendent says they hold classes 180 days a year, with 1,500 students, and on most of those days, you don’t hear a thing.
But when a problem occurs, that creates a social media wildfire, and that makes news. But it’s all part of the job, and they’re up to the task.
Superintendent Zac Shutler says bad behavior on the bus–or in school–won’t be tolerated.
He says the violent episode on the bus last school year was not typical.
“I think by its very definition it’s not a normal event.”Zac Shutler, Union Local Superintendent
These days, schools don’t just teach students but also treat their social and emotional needs.
They have a social worker at school, and a new $37,000 Stronger Connections grant from Ohio.
“That, we hope, will allow teachers to support kids social and emotionally and also be better able to identify when a child might be going through some type of trauma.”Zac Shutler, Union Local Superintendent
They recognize that some students have extremely chaotic home lives.
“There’s students who have very challenging home lives. They don’t have consistency in their home lives.”Zac Shutler, Union Local Superintendent
He says that’s why the school has to be a rock of consistency. Students have to know what to expect, at least there. He says they emphasize “Jets thinking, Jets caring, Jets aiming high.”
“Support each other. If somebody’s down, pick them up. Focus on what we can control. “Zac Shutler, Union Local Superintendent
He says we can’t control social media chatter but we can control how we run our schools and how we treat each other, for the best, every day. However, threats to the school from the outside are not controllable, but able to be prepared for, especially thanks to a $200,000 safety grant.
“So we’re looking at things like tinting the windows. We’re enhancing our security camera footage. We’re putting in an ID badge system that will run visitors through a background check to let people know that they’re visitors.”Zac Shutler, Union Local Superintendent
He says being proactive and prepared is vital. But NOT being anxious or stressed…is just as important.
“But when students walk in, they also feel comfortable. They also feel like they’re at their second home, because that’s where students learn best.”Zac Shutler, Union Local Superintendent
School starts at Union Local August 28.