Sheriff sees the benefits of officers in the schools
Facing issues of bullying and drug use, the school system sees a need for having an officer at the schools. At the board of education meeting Monday night, Sheriff David Jonese addressed the issues and explained programs the sheriffﾒs department could provide to assist the schools.
Earlier this year, Pocahontas County High School principal Tom Sanders requested the sheriffﾒs department to be present at the school.
ﾓThere was a big issue with bullying at the high school, along with the issues they had with drugs in the school. Thatﾒs why we were requested,ﾔ Jonese said. ﾓWe were requested to go to some classes in the elementary school [to talk about] bullying and Internet safety, as well.ﾔ
The sheriffﾒs department discontinued the visits at the request of the board because the issue was not brought before the board for a vote.
ﾓThe problem that the board had, anyone thatﾒs inside the schools has to be approved by the county board of education, thatﾒs policy,ﾔ board member Emery Grimes said.
Board member Leslie Cain added that the board was surprised by the police presence because it was not discussed with them.
Jonese said he understood the boardﾒs concerns, and said the department was just responding to what was asked of them.
The plan to have an officer in the schools began last year, when Superintendent C.C. Lester approached the Pocahontas County Commission to partner with the school board to apply for PRO (Prevention Resources Officer) program grant.
ﾓThe original goal was to have a full-time PRO officer through the county commission, Iﾒd still love to do that,ﾔ Jonese said. ﾓWe would have one that would go from school to school and do some education, training, interact with the students and be there to assist.ﾔ
While the PRO program is still on hold, Jonese and his deputies have provided resources similar to what a PRO would do in the schools.
ﾓThey would be there [PCHS] in the morning after the first bell, stay for an hour or so and tour the halls. If they told us everything was good, they would leave,ﾔ Jonese said. ﾓIt seemed to have pretty good success. The next day after we did leave, they had a fight. We have found a few pills. The thing is, if we can prevent a lot of that, then itﾒs a good thing.ﾔ
The officers have also offered classes on bullying, safety on the Internet and self-defense.
ﾓI was providing some self-defense training to some female teachers and women in general in the evenings,ﾔ Jonese said. ﾓIﾒd like to be able to offer that to all the different schools in the county and open it up to all the women and girls in the high school just to teach them the basics on how to protect themselves. Not only here, but primarily when they leave the area.ﾔ
The board agreed that the programs Jonese is providing are important for the staff and students. Board president Kenneth Vance said the staff needs to have bullying and Internet classes, as well.
ﾓWe have to get the staffs in the schools updated and looking for this kind of stuff,ﾔ Vance said. ﾓThey should be there watching the students because you could be there every day, and if theyﾒre not helping you, youﾒre not going to stop most of it. We need to start with the training there, with the staff, the bus drivers, everybody in the schools that we have hired.ﾔ
The board told Jonese to meet with Lester to discuss what the officers can provide to the schools, and to make a schedule for their presence at the schools. The board also agreed to attend the next county commission meeting to address the PRO program.
ﾕ Roger Trusler and Dale Withrow reported on the changes in the Pocahontas County Multi-Purpose Community Center. Trusler said the bids for the project came in too high and the project will be put out on bid in January.
Withrow, of Chapman Technical Group, said the plan was redesigned to try to cut costs. He said the biggest issues with the project were the proximity to Knapps Creek and that Pocahontas County has one of the highest prevailing wages in the state. The county has a high prevailing wage due in part to the amount of federally owned land in the county.
To lower the cost of the entire project, Withrow said the building material was changed to a metal building system, which also lowered the amount of square feet of the building. The building was also compacted by making each room smaller, except for the gymnasium.
Other parts of the plan that changed were the sidewalks and the corridor connecting the center to Marlinton Elementary School. The town of Marlinton will install the sidewalks, eliminating that cost from the project. The corridor will only have a roof instead of being enclosed.
ﾕ Maintenance director Darin McKenney said the drainage system at Green Bank Elementary-Middle School has been installed. MES also needs guttering, but McKenney said two inches of metal needs to be taken from the roof before installing the gutters.
McKenney added that there are several duties he is asked to do that can be handled by the janitorial staff if they have the appropriate tools. Lester said he would ask the principals to make a list of all maintenance needs to provide to McKenney and his assistant, Brad Landis.
ﾕ Associate Superintendent for Operations and Treasurer Alice Irvine reported that two new buses are in use by Tom Madison and Jamie Walker.
ﾕ Board member Jan McNeel shared information from her recent visit to Ravenswood Middle School. She said the school has received several awards and the principal is the West Virginia Principal of the Year. She asked Lester to consider having the principal visit Pocahontas County to share information with the board.
In financial management, the board approved the following:
ﾕ Payment of vendor listing of claims in the amount of $19,235.07.
ﾕ Payment of vendor listing of claims in the amount of $251,390.86.
ﾕ Treasurerﾒs Report, Revenue and Expenditures Summary, Projects Summary, Budget Supplements and Budget Transfers.
In personnel management, the board approved the following:
ﾕ Employment of Samantha J. McClure as assistant girls basketball coach at Marlinton Middle School, effective December 13 for the remainder of the 2011-2012 season at a supplement of $639. Position is pending on sufficient number of players to make a team.
ﾕ Employment of David Michael Callison as assistant boys basketball coach at Marlinton Middle School, effective December 13 for the remainder of the 2011-2012 season at a supplement of $667. Position is pending on sufficient number of players to make a team and the completion of the required WVSSAC Coaches Education Class.
ﾕ Employment of Joshua Lee Ashby as teacher of health/physical education at Pocahontas County High School, effective January 17 for the remainder of the 2011-2012 school year. Term of employment is 99 days.
ﾕ Resignation of Eileen K. Irvine due to retirement, as Lead Executive Secretary/Accountant and Assistant to Director of Finance, effective at the end of the day on December 31.
ﾕ Abolishment of position Lead Executive Secretary/Accountant and Assistant to Director of Finance for Pocahontas County Schools, effective December 31.
ﾕ Creation of position Executive Secretary/Accountant for Pocahontas County Schools, effective January 25, for the remainder of the 2011-2012 fiscal year.
In miscellaneous management, the board approved the following:
ﾕ The revision of policies: File: IDBC, Aids Education; File: IDDE-R, Driver Education Vehicles; File: IFCD, Volunteer Service; and File: IHE, Promotion, Acceleration, Placement and Retention.
ﾕ Travel requests for December 12.
ﾕ Contract between the Pocahontas County Schools and Joanne Persinger for math services, assistance and observation, at $60 per hour, not to exceed 80 hours or $4,800, effective January 16 through May 25.
ﾕ Contract between the Pocahontas County Schools and Allen Bell to assist principals at $50 per hour, not to exceed $3,000, effective for the 2011-2012 school year.
ﾕ David Dilley as a volunteer coach for the 6th grade basketball team at Marlinton Middle School, effective for the 2011-2012 season.