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School leaders share concerns over school security

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BOARDMAN, Ohio - Recent school shootings in our country have left districts with tragic lessons learned.

Revised strategies on how to keep students safe and how to best respond to threats are on the list of what can be improved upon at schools.

Valley school leaders, teacher and local law enforcement agencies joined State Senator Joe Schiavoni and Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine in Boardman Monday at the Mahoning County Educational Service Center for a meeting to share ideas and concerns about protecting classrooms.

Recent memories of the shootings in Newtown, Connecticut were still fresh in many minds at the meeting that's the first of its kind in Ohio.

"Some people think that it would never happen in their district, but we have to not think that way," said Alex Geordan, Canfield Local Schools Superintendent.

Protecting students from violence comes down to resources. District leaders, like Crestview Superintendent John Dilling, say finding funding to pay for additional school security isn't easy. The district is now in negotiations to pay off-duty Columbiana County Sheriff Deputies to watch over its school buildings.

"We're strapped for dollars, but we still need to keep our students safe and this is something that we feel is important," Dilling said.

Canfield Local Schools is now installing buzzers and cameras at building entrances and a panic button system could be next.

"Within 13 seconds after sending the response out, people will be notified via email and text," said Alex Geordan, Canfield Local Schools Superintendent.

On the other the other side of prevention, some teachers say they still have trouble following up with a student who may exhibit questionable behavior.

DeWine agreed this is an area that needs more support.

"How do we, once we identify a student who might be a risk, might become a shooter in a school, how do we make sure the school has the resources to deal with that problem," DeWine said.

DeWine says finding additional avenues of funding for school districts to afford more security measures sits with Ohio Governor John Kasich.

Some school leaders shared that they're taking advantage of relationships with local police and the only cost is time, an affordable resource that's hoped to boast priceless protection.

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