The Times West Virginian

Opinion

December 4, 2013

Renovations, improvements key steps to safer schools

In the nearly 12 months since the horrific shooting of 20 innocent students and six staff members at an elementary school in Connecticut, school security has remained an important issue.

That’s not just our opinion. Consider that almost 90 percent of U.S. school systems have made changes to their facilities or security policies since last year’s shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn.

That’s according to a report last month by Bloomberg regarding a survey of 600 school districts that will be published in Campus Safety Magazine. In addition, Bloomberg reported that annual spending on school security systems is projected to jump to $4.9 billion in 2017 from $2.7 billion last year, in part because of mass killings like the one in Newtown.

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

The Marion County Board of Education clearly realizes that, and earlier this week members approved an allocation of $10,000 to each school in the county to be used for security and maintenance purposes.

Superintendent of Schools Gary Price said he recommended the approval based on the way the schools have used the money in previous years, and each school will provide the board with a detailed report of how it plans to use the money.

“We’re proud to be able to make that money available,” Price said. “We are certainly impressed with how the schools have spent their allocation, and that’s why we continue to recommend it.”

Even though the funds won’t go exclusively to what might be considered common safety measures — last year, the money was used to meet individual school needs such as bell systems, lighting, roof repairs, playground resurfacing and more, and the BOE approved this year’s funding because of the successful way the money was used in past years — 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.

Statistics show that 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.

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Opinion
  • Unsung heroes handling calls in emergencies are appreciated

    Thankfully, we live in a community where help is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, just by dialing three numbers — 9-1-1.
    During this week, which is recognized as National Public Safety Tele-Communicator’s Week nationwide, we need to remember that on the other end of that line are the men and women here in this county who are always there in case of accident, crimes, medical emergencies and any other catastrophic event.

    April 18, 2014

  • Message to ‘buckle up and park the phone’ is saving lives

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    The West Virginia Southern Regional Highway Safety Program has announced there were 325 highway fatalities in 2013, the second-lowest number on record.

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    Sylvia Mathews Burwell might not be a name with which most people are immediately familiar.
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    Prior to that, she served as president of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s Global Development Program and later the Wal-Mart Foundation.

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    When it comes to area-wide studies, especially on health, there’s usually good news and bad news.
    So was the recent report on the health of America’s counties released by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation recently. The nationwide county study evaluated health outcomes and health factors, and ranked counties accordingly.

    April 13, 2014

  • COLUMN: ‘Instant’ news not always reliable

    Instant.
    That little word has a pretty big meaning. With origins that date back to the 15th century, it means urgent, current, immediate.
    But think about how that word has developed over the past few decades.
    Instant pudding. Instead of slaving over a hot stove for a few minutes, you can now pour cold milk and with a bit of stirring, instant pudding!

    April 13, 2014

  • Decision to be an organ donor can save lives

    Chelsea Clair watched as her father died waiting for a bone marrow transplant.
    So when she met Kyle Froelich at a car show in 2009 and heard about his struggles to find a kidney that would match his unique needs, she never hesitated to offer hers to the man she just met.

    April 11, 2014

  • Volunteers continue to have priceless impact on community

    Chances are, you know someone who volunteers. Perhaps you’re a volunteer yourself.
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    They read to our youth.
    They assist nonprofit agencies.
    They serve on boards and committees.
    And in 2013, they spent a day picking up nearly 10 tons of garbage that had been tossed out on public property around Marion County.

    April 10, 2014

  • Proposed school calendar lives up to letter and spirit of law

    West Virginia state law requires that students be in a classroom for 180 days.

    April 9, 2014

  • Strong Fairmont General Hospital badly needed to serve our region

    Mere minutes often matter when it comes to emergency health care.
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    When patients need the services of health-care professionals, having family and friends close at hand is often essential, and their presence may even lead to a better outcome.

    April 6, 2014

  • COLUMN: Fairmont General Hospital vital part of community

    There’s nothing better than holding a newborn baby. It gives you a little feeling that not only is everything right in the world, but this perfect little human represents hope of a future where things will be better than they are today.
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    April 6, 2014

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