The Times West Virginian

November 30, 2012

Fiscal responsibility of Marion County’s BOE leads to funds for safer schools

Times West Virginian

— Parents shouldn’t have to worry when they send their children to school each day.

Schools are meant to be safe havens, where the focus is on math, science and other subjects geared toward making students successful in their future endeavors.

Thankfully, the National Education Association reports that when it comes to statistics, schools continue to be one of the most secure places for children.

But we’ve all seen the headlines about violence in schools. We remember the horrific images from Columbine and Virginia Tech, where students opened fire in senseless acts, ultimately killing a total of 45 people at the two campuses. In this year alone, six school shootings have been reported in the U.S.

And while acts of violence certainly must be addressed, safety goes beyond the threat of students having weapons on school property. It’s considered in terms of whether students face bullying and harassment from their peers, with agencies like the NEA working to promote counseling, anger management, peer mediation and other ways for students to communicate with adults about rumors and threats.

It’s clear that having a “safe school” doesn’t just mean doors are secure or a guard is on duty.

But that doesn’t mean those aspects can be ignored, and the Marion County Board of Education has taken another proactive step in ensuring students’ safety.

Earlier this month, the BOE approved the allocation of $10,000 to each school in the county for the purpose of security and facility upgrades.

According to Superintendent of Schools Gary Price, the allocation of funding is possible thanks to fiscal responsibility, which has enabled carry­over money to be put toward school-improvement projects.

“It’s simply from being frugal with the budget,” Price said. “We haven’t been able to do that for a couple of years.

“It’s something the board members all feel strongly about, and we want to be able to give that funding to each of the schools.”

Even though the funds won’t go exclusively to what might be considered common safety measures — the money will be used to meet individual school needs such as bell systems, lighting, roof repairs, playground resurfacing and more — we hope the funds are used for their intended purposes. After all, renovations and improvements of any type are an important step to consider when it comes to having safe schools.

And as the NEA has reported, students learn best and achieve their full potential in safe and orderly classrooms.

Thanks to the BOE’s fiscal responsibility, the county’s schools will be safer for all students, faculty and staff.