Windsor CSD Superintendent Dr. Jason Andrews held his quarterly meeting with the Student Council presidents of the District’s five schools: Ryan Kristof (Bell Elementary), Lizzie Hopkins (Weeks Elementary), Nora Drexler (Palmer Elementary), Haley Kohlbach (Middle School) and Larissa Balachick (High School).
Dr. Andrews listed three components of school safety: infrastructure, such as interior locks and cameras, access to mental health services, and opportunities for students.
“We could buy metal detectors tomorrow but I’m not sure that would make the school any safer in comparison to building a culture of involved, engaged kids, and making sure we have connections, making sure we continue to survey what kids are taking part in. We want to identify opportunities for all to be connected,” said Dr. Andrews.
Students shared their safety concerns. Drexler said that during safety drills her class shelters in the class bathroom. Having all of the students in that small of a space makes some uncomfortable.
Dr. Andrews explained that getting students out of the line of sight is important in an emergency situation. There may be a good reason students have to congregate in a particular place.
“It’s something we may have to communicate,” said Dr. Andrews.
Kristof is looking for ways to raise awareness against bullying and teasing. Drexler suggested the anti-bullying message could be spread more at school-wide assemblies versus in each classroom.
The elementary Student Council presidents were open to having Middle School and High School students come to their schools to spread an anti-bullying message, feeling they may be more effective messengers. Balachick said High School Student Council would be open to doing that.
The students also shared their thoughts on School Resource Officers. Balachick said she was initially uneasy about an armed officer at school. But, that discomfort has gone away.
“Seeing him at the front door every day saying, ‘hi’, has made me feel ten times safer,” said Balachick. Kohlbach also said she likes it when Windsor’s SRO, officer Dan Thomas, is at the Middle School.
The final two topics were career counselling in school and the use of technology in class.
“I’m going to share these thoughts with my administrative team and the Board of Education. This discussion becomes one more element we use to make decisions for the District,” said Dr. Andrews.