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"We must be prepared, be ready" for school emergencies

Superintendent Stan Jefferson reviews the agenda for Thursday’s district safety meeting with, from left, Lt. Dan Crow of the Mansfield Fire Department; MPD Officer Matt Brewster, the Senior High/middle school resource officer; MPD Lt. Randy Carver and Andrea Moyer, district director of school improvement, who heads up the district safety committee.

      Mansfield City Schools staff focused on safety Thursday during daylong professional development training that reviewed responses to an active shooter and procedures for rapid emergency evacuation of schools.

      A morning session in the Senior High auditorium featured Lt. Randy Carver of the Mansfield Police Department and Lt. Dan Crow of the Mansfield Fire Department.

      Superintendent Stan Jefferson told staff that 18 states have experienced some type of shooting on college campuses, at schools or other public buildings since January.

      “We never know if that day will come here. We hope it will not, but if it does we must be prepared. We must be ready and know what to do,” he said.

      Jefferson, a former assistant coach in the Ohio State University football program, recalled the November 2016 terrorist attack on the OSU campus during his last year at the university.

      An OSU student from Somalia rammed a car into pedestrians on a campus sidewalk, then began slashing passers-by with a knife before he was shot and killed by a university police officer.

      “I was in a building less than 25 yards away,” Jefferson said of the incident. “When we look at the seriousness of what is happening nationwide, we must be prepared. We must be ready.”

      Andrea Moyer, former Malabar Intermediate School principal who is now director of school improvement, heads up the district safety committee. She introduced the morning program.

      "Those of you who know me know that safety always has been my top priority,” Moyer said. “Academics are important but when you come to work you need to feel safe and students need to feel safe.”

      The Senior High fire alarm disrupted the session, prompting the surprised audience of hundreds to quickly leave the auditorium and exit the building in a matter of minutes. When staff returned Moyer said the drill was designed to demonstrate the need for immediate action.

      “When you evacuate you have to keep track of every student. What if there is a kid in the restroom? We all must take this very seriously,” she said.

      After lunch staff returned to their respective schools for discussions about specific actions to respond to emergencies in their buildings.

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