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Girard board weighs adding metal detectors

GIRARD — City school officials are considering adding metal detectors to the district’s three school buildings for the 2022-23 school year.

Superintendent Bryan O’Hara said at Thursday’s Girard Board of Education meeting that the district’s safety plan was evaluated by the Ohio Schools Council, which recommended metal detectors.

“I am sure metal detectors are being recommended for all school districts,” he said.

Last month, a gunman entered an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, and shot to death 19 students and two teachers. Closer to home, a Lowellville middle school student shot himself in the cafeteria during a lunch period on May 5.

The board’s safety committee will meet soon to review the safety plan and recommendations.

Parent Giovanna Whitfield said she supports the idea of metal detectors. She said school administrators and teachers may not know what students have in their backpacks.

Board President Mark Zuppo said with metal detectors, there will be more time involved and more people needed when students are entering the buildings in large groups in the morning. However, he said metal detectors will be discussed and taken under consideration.

In other action, the board accepted the resignation of Samuel Caputo as high school principal and named him supervisor of Girard City Schools Continuity of Service Plan for the district at a salary of approximately $90,000. The one-year contract is effective Aug. 1 and is covered by a grant.

O’Hara said Caputo will handle the district’s plan on how it has been and will use future ESSER funds and American Rescue Plan funds. The plan is required by the Ohio Department of Education.

“He will make sure the items in the plan come to fruition as related to instruction and safety,” O’Hara said.

He said the board is in the process of naming a new high school principal.

In other business, the board approved placing a renewal emergency operating levy on the November ballot.

Treasurer Mark Bello said the levy was first passed in 1988 and will raise $534,500 annually over 10 years for day-to-day needs and emergencies of the district. He said the levy has been renewed each time it has been on the ballot, and there will be no increase in taxes.

In other action, the board:

• Hired Christopher DiRando as a physical education / future prep teacher and Carly Brown as a speech pathologist, both on one-year contracts;

• Approved transfer of Luke Watts from second-grade teacher to kindergarten. He will replace Kristie Grewell, who resigned effective Aug. 15;

• Approved the Success by Six Program July 11 to 29 through the United Way at Girard Primary School. School staff will serve as instructors for the program.

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