Some Parents Troubled Schools Yet to Give AG Safety Plans

Twelve Franklin County schools still have not submitted safety plans to the Ohio Attorney General.(Photo: Flickr)
Twelve Franklin County schools still have not submitted safety plans to the Ohio Attorney General.(Photo: Flickr)

Ohio schools are required by law to have a safety plan, and it’s supposed to be submitted to the state attorney general’s office. But some Franklin County schools still have no plan on file. WOSU reports some parents are troubled by administrators’ inaction.

“It makes you concerned there’s no protection,” said a parent of Columbus Bilingual Academy North.

The parent’s statement encompasses the sentiments of most parents we talked to at the school on the city’s Northeast side.

Columbus Bilingual Academy North and its sister school, Columbus Bilingual Academy in the Hilltop, are public charter schools. They remain on a list of 12 Franklin County schools that need to update or submit a comprehensive safety plan to Attorney General Mike DeWine’s office.

Ben Davis rushed to his car after dropping off his six-year-old niece for the school day.

“Well maybe they should get on the horse and do something about it. Get busy,” Davis said.

The push for state-mandated safety plans comes a week after a gunman killed 20 first graders and six staff members at a Newtown, Connecticut school.

In October, eight months after Ohio’s own deadly school shooting in Chardon, DeWine’s office notified more than 2,000 schools they needed to submit or update a safety plan. It’s late December and some schools have not complied.

DeWine said he wants to be able to share the safety plans with law enforcement if there’s an emergency.

The safety plans are supposed to include how the school would handle a shooter, a chemical spill and even medical emergencies. Schools also are required to provide the building’s floor plan and to note specifics such as exits, where security alarms and cameras are located, and where to shut off gas, power and water.

Maria Cruz’s daughter is a fourth grader at Columbus Bilingual Academy North.

“That worries me [they have no plan].Imagine all those parents who lost their children and how they felt. It makes me get chills. I feel really bad,” Cruz said. “They haven’t told us anything of a plan they have.”

But not all parents express such deep concerns. Donna Monroe said the school’s security is adequate.

“I know I have to be buzzed in and out,” Monroe noted. “I actually love this school. He’s only in kindergarten, but so far I don’t really have a big concern.”

A Columbus Bilingual Academy North staff member said plans were submitted “in July.” Another staff member told us not to talk to any more parents.

School treasurer Doug Mangen said he is perplexed as to why the two bilingual academies remain on the AG’s list. He said he’s trying to find out why.

“Safety plans for both schools were submitted in September…we have not received any kind of notification that it had not been received,” he said.

Mangen said after the Newtown shooting, the bilingual charter schools are reviewing school safety. He said that includes “proactive” training for teachers.

“It certainly has made this an issue on the top of our priority list, for not only teachers and administrators, but parents, as well,” Mangen said.

Still, Mangen would not speculate why the two bilingual academies remain on the attorney general’s list.

The AG’s office said the plans are not on file.

As of Thursday at 4 p.m., the Ohio Attorney General’s office reports following Franklin County schools have not submitted or updated their safety plans:

Columbus Bilingual Academy
Premier Academy of Ohio
Columbus Bilingual Academy North
Crusier Academy
Road to Success Academy
The Arch Academy
John Stuart Mill Academy
A+ Children’s Academy
Southeast Christian Academy
Columbus Montessori Ed Ctr
Brice Christian Academy
Virtual Community School of Ohio