BR steps up security

BY STACI WILSON

In the wake of the Sandy Hook tragedy, school districts are taking a fresh look at security procedures.

On Monday, Blue Ridge instituted new security protocols for visitors in the elementary and high schools.

Elementary Principal Matthew Button detailed the new student pickup procedure that went into effect this week at the Monday night school board meeting.

Parents who pick up their elementary-age students on a regular basis were issued parking permits which are displayed in the vehicle window.

Instead of coming inside the school, pickups are now outside the building. Students are matched to the id tag in the vehicle before being released.

Button said that Monday – the first day of the new procedure – went smoothly and that he received a lot of positive feedback from parents regarding the new system.

At the high school level, parents and school visitors have been asked to schedule appointments before coming to the school during daytime hours and all visitors will be asked to show photo identification before being admitted to the building.

In other district business, the board approved the Independent Audit, Murphy, Dougherty & Co., for the period ending June 30, 2012.

Board policies on unlawful harassments and the student assistance program were approved; and a 30 day review of the tax collection and uncompensated leave policies began.

Several employee related policies, mostly healthcare related, were removed and replaced with a merged employee section policy.

Discipline action agreements for four students were approved by the board.

Tenure was acknowledged for Katie Brown.

A volunteer exercise program for district employees was also approved, as was Cheryl Farrell as an unpaid volunteer instructor for the program which will take place for the remainder of the school year.

Board member Michael Detweiler said the aerobics classes are planned as part of the staff program.

Chorus teacher Amy Zakarauskas was named as the Theatrical Production Director for the high school for 2012-13 year, with the salary of the exhibit B position set at $2,000.

Board President Laurie Bonner announced a budget and finance committee meeting will be held Tuesday evening in the cafeteria.

Board member Shane Rumage noted that Monday night was the first time the board had convened since the district “experienced a tragic loss” with the death of sophomore, Mahlon Mosher.

Other board members joined with Rumage in expressing sympathy to the student’s family and friends.