Dear Parents…

A letter is on its way detailing a partnership among Stark County law enforcement and school administrators to find solutions to violence among children and school safety concerns.

Since the 2017-2018 school year began, more than a dozen current or recently graduated young people have died by suicide.

Additionally, last month a 13-year-old 7th-grader at Jackson Memorial Middle School fatally shot himself in the school bathroom. Recent reports from the Jackson Township Police Department indicate, Keith Simons was planning a larger attack against the school, but for reasons unknown changed his mind.

On Friday, March 2nd, the Safety and Security Task Force, led by Stark County Sheriff George T. Maier, issued a report outlining those who will serve on the Task Force, what the commitment will be and topics that will be discussed.

School administrators from each district and law enforcement partners have announced a commitment to consider all avenues when working towards effective solutions. They have noted that they plan to work closely with one another to continue to enhance school security and other safety measures.

The Task Force is made up of  Stark County Sheriff George T. Maier;  FBI Agent with the Canton Office, Todd Krajeck;  Tim Delvecchio, Consultant for Security Services; formerly with the Ohio Department of Homeland Security; Doug Swartz, President of the Police Chiefs Association; Joe Chaddock, Superintendent of the Stark County Educational Service Center; Joe Knoll, Superintendent of the Marlington Local School District; Brent May, Superintendent of the Plain Local School District; Chris DiLoreto, Superintendent of the Jackson Local School District; Jeff Talbert, Superintendent of the Alliance City School District; and Mary Jo Shannon Slick, Esq., General Counsel with the Stark County Educational Service Center.

An outline detailing the responsibilities and commitments of the task force will be mailed to every parent in every Stark County school district. In it, officials explain they plan to review issues raised by parents, community members, school districts, law enforcement, and security experts regarding additional equipment, procedures, personnel, and plans.

While officials note individual district plans are not public record to ensure the safety of students and staff, the plans will be reviewed and enhanced.

Notable issues on the agenda of the Task Force include discussions surrounding the following:

1.) Metal Detectors

2.) Metal Detection Wands

3.) Arming School Employees

4.) Hiring additional law enforcement officers for school buildings

5.) Mental Health Services

The report sent to parents notes that there are often factors impacting both children and their families such as mental health issues, the lack of affordable health insurance to seek counseling services, misuse of technology and the increasingly downward economic spiral of many families.

Officials explain that it will “take a combination of parents, students, schools, law enforcement, mental health, the private sector, national and state legislators and our communities to fix these problems.”

 

The report concludes by saying, “We should be aggressive and relentless in demanding these solutions.  Our children deserve no less.”

Every superintendent in the 22 school districts across Stark County is expected to mail a letter, report outline, and additional information to every parent this week.

Michaela Madison Reporting

 

 

 

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