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Osakis Voices: School safety is number one priority

At our recent school board meeting on Jan. 14, our annual reorganizational meeting was held. This meeting takes place in early January for all Minnesota public school boards. The first order of business was the election of school board officers for 2019. Becky Hensley — board chair, Michael Collins — vice chair, Genny LeBrun — clerk, and Greg Faber — treasurer. We also have two other school board members — Tom Grundman and Chris George. All of the terms of office are for one year. The regular board meetings will take place on the second Monday of the month beginning at 5:30 p.m.

School board members also sign up for a number of committee assignments. There are currently 21 committees in the Osakis School District. A committee structure enables school board members, administration, teachers, staff, students, and community members to work together to ensure the best possible outcome for our students. Committees range from Facilities to Curriculum to World's Best Workforce to Finance to Staff Development, just to name a few. School board members spend much time and energy serving the Osakis School District.

I also want to touch base on safety in our school. The safety of students and staff has always been my number one priority. Each school year we review our security, as well as our crisis management plan. We conduct practice lockdown and evacuation drills periodically throughout the school year with all students and staff. During the school day, please note that all individuals entering the building must do so through the district, elementary or high school offices. All other exterior doors are locked.

We periodically will have trained dogs come into our school to search for illegal drugs, alcohol, prescription medication, gunpowder and tobacco products. We work closely with local law enforcement to ensure our school district is free from these products. If any of the above mentioned products are found, local law enforcement will take over the investigation and due process will be followed.

Osakis School District recently added a "film" like material on the outer doors and windows of our elementary and secondary areas. This material was added on these places as a security measure so people are deterred from looking into the school. In order for students to learn, there needs to be a safe environment. We want to always do our best to continually strive to provide a safe and supportive educational environment for our students and staff.

It is really unfortunate schools today have to take such measures but we do these things because the safety of "our" children is of utmost importance.

Osakis Voices is rotating column written by community leaders who share their thoughts in their field of expertise.