Now that classes are back in session for the district’s 36,000 students, it’s the perfect time to talk about school safety.
Superintendent Laura Mitchell, Cincinnati Police Chief Eliot Isaac and Fire Chief Roy Winston addressed news reporters and other school employees about school security and pedestrian safety as students commence the 2019-2020 school year.
"It does take all of us to protect our kids," said Eve Bolton, school board member, at the August 23 press conference.
A few weeks ago, the school district rolled out its new three-year strategic plan, with one of the five goals addressing the health and safety of CPS students. Under this goal, the district plans to increase the number of school social workers from 26 to 35 by the end of the school year, reaching 52 social workers by 2021-2022.
This year, CPS hired an additional 13 security assistants to work throughout the district's 65 schools; this is in addition to the 19 security assistants CPS hired last year.
Now that classes are back in session, Cincinnati Police Chief Eliot Isaac reminds drivers to slow down in a school zone and be aware of students walking to and from school.
Last year, at least 13 CPS students were struck by cars while crossing the street to school. One student — Gabrielle Rodriguez — was killed when she was struck by a hit-and-run driver as she attempted to cross the street to her bus.
"We continue to rely on school crossing guards and are continuing to recruit them," Isaac said. This year, crossing guards will be posted at some high schools, including Western Hills and Gilbert A. Dater.
Two years ago, the Superintendent created a Safety Task Force comprised of law enforcement and safety officials from local and regional organizations to advise district officials on best practices to improve the safety and security of our schools.
Ohio Governor Mike DeWine issued an executive order on August 21 creating a specialized division of Ohio Homeland Security devoted exclusively to the safety of Ohio’s students and schools.
The Ohio School Safety Center will assist local schools and law enforcement in preventing, preparing for, and responding to threats and acts of violence, including self-harm, through a holistic, solutions-based approach to improving school safety.