While keeping students safe in schools is always a top priority for districts, it’s highlighted even more during Ohio School Safety Month.

PERRYSBURG, Ohio — This month marks the first ever School Safety Month in Ohio after it was established earlier this year when Gov. Mike DeWine signed Bill 583 House.

Perrysburg Superintendent Tom Hosler said that’s a positive thing, but he also explained that it’s not just about signing those bills.

This month’s goal for schools is to increase public awareness of school safety programs and policies. It’s no secret that safety has been a focus for many parents and teachers this year, so this is an added layer of protection for students.

Hosler said they are focused on looking in the mirror to see what they can be best at in Perrysburg.

The county recently hired a firm to conduct a safety audit; checking things like making sure all guests are wearing name tags, or how long someone can just wander the halls before being spotted.

He explained that they also added a parent component to the county’s safety committee, joining the sheriff as well as the police and fire chief. Hosler said all these important leaders in the community are coming together.

“And we started to realize that the parent component is very important to that because they want to know what’s going on, they have issues,” he said. “It’s great that we’re listening to parents and hearing what keeps them up at night about what we’re doing and how we can better respond to that or share with families what we can do.”

Hosler explained that while there is always the possibility of an active shooter, they are more likely to encounter other school safety situations. Things like a tornado, a power outage, or a custody battle happening at the office.

He said they practice safety drills with students every month, making sure everyone knows the procedures. But he also explained that you can pass all kinds of legislation and laws about how to make schools safer, but it all comes down to how the whole community can make a difference.

“It’s really all of our responsibilities. It’s not the principal, it’s not the school resource officer, it’s really everybody’s responsibility,” explained Hosler. “So if you’re next door to a school or you hear something at home and you don’t have kids at school, it gives us an opportunity to say, ‘This is all our responsibility.’

Ohio School Safety Center (OSSC) developed the topic “Know school safety, know your role – it’s everyone’s responsibility” for the events of October.

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