The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

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January 20, 2013

School safety to be focus of Joplin board’s meeting

JOPLIN, Mo. — Members of the Joplin Board of Education on Tuesday plan to follow up with administrators about ideas for improving school safety.

Board President Randy Steele said the board will discuss the results of a meeting last week among parents, teachers, principals, law enforcement personnel and administrators regarding perceived strengths and weaknesses in the school district’s safety procedures.

That group also brainstormed ideas for improving security at Joplin schools. Those ideas, which included upgrading external school features such as windows and doors and streamlining communication methods among faculty and staff members, were collected by administrators at the end of the meeting and will be reviewed internally.

Steele said he expects administrators to present a summary of those ideas to board members Tuesday during a work session. No formal action is expected to be taken by the board.

“I’m sure there’s going to be some discussion about how they came up with these ideas, and if we’re going to implement any of these,” he said.

Last week’s school safety meeting took place one month after a shooter killed 26 people, most of them children, inside an elementary school in Newtown, Conn. Administrators have said the district’s safety measures should continually be reviewed and updated.

During its regular meeting Tuesday, the board will consider approval of a $45,104 bid from Midwest Digital Systems, of Kansas City, for the installation of a digital surveillance camera system at the freshman-sophomore campus of Joplin High School on Eighth Street. Included is a five-year warranty to cover hardware, software and labor, according to a copy of the proposal submitted by administrators.

Steele said cameras are installed at the campus, but administrators have said additional cameras need to be placed in different locations in the school. The junior-senior campus at Northpark Mall also has a camera surveillance system, he said.

“We’re finding there are some hallways or areas (at the Eighth Street campus) that need those cameras more,” he said.

Board members also will consider approval of several bid packages, including concrete, fire suppression systems, plumbing and mechanical systems for the new Joplin High School and Franklin Technology Center; and decorative aluminum leaf, roofing, sheet metal and elevators for the new Irving Elementary School.

Meeting details

The Joplin Board of Education will hold a work session at 4 p.m. and its regular meeting at 5 p.m. Tuesday at the administration building, 3901 E. 32nd St. The board will meet two hours earlier than normal so board members can take part in the Joplin Area Chamber of Commerce Business Expo on Tuesday.

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