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NH discusses student issues, safety

The North Harrison Community School Corp. Board of Trustees discussed school safety Thursday evening during its March meeting.
Veronica Battista, school board president, said the discussion was not an assessment on the Second Amendment.
‘This is about our school, staff and people that are here,’ she said. ‘What we can do to help protect, prevent and persevere.’
Dr. Lance Richards, school superintendent, said county school and community leaders got together to come up with a school help line, to be up and running soon, for students, parents or anyone to call about suspicious activity, bullying, depression and suicide issues, or anything faces students today.
The idea came from a parent in the North Harrison community.
‘Sheriff Seelye (Rod) was very excited about that,’ Richards said of the anonymous help line, which will be monitored 24-hours a day.
Richards said the internalized pressures and anxieties students feel today from social media is nothing like it used to be, even just five or 10 years ago.
‘If I could counsel parents on one thing, monitor social media,’ he said. ‘Know what they’re on; lock down phones. We’ve got great kids; they’ve got plenty of friends. They don’t need another friend; they need a parent.’
Richards said parents can shield their children from some of the issues they may be facing.
‘Look, we were all in middle school, high school; there were kids you didn’t get along with and you wished they were absent every day you went to school,’ he said. ‘But at 3:30, when you got on the bus and went home, it went away. Now, it’s just here, it’s just there all the time … I do think there are pressures that come from social media for our students that they can’t ever unplug, can’t ever decompress from.’
The school corporation also will try to address student mental health by applying for an Eli Lilly Comprehensive Counseling Initiative Grant.
‘We want to have a reference point, to point families, point kids,’ Richards said. ‘We want to build a safety net around these kids. We can protect the best we can … Our kids are going to have recess. We’re going to go outside and play. That’s what we do; we’re North Harrison.’
Middle school teacher Dan Haskell said as a public school teacher, he never took classes on how to stop a bullet or deal with kids who have to worry about stopping a bullet.
‘This is a new frontier for a lot of people,’ he said, before adamantly advising not to put guns in the hands of teachers.
Richards also talked of additional resources coming in the way of school resource officers from the Harrison County Sheriff’s Dept.
He said all schools in the district will follow the single-point entry method, and they will emphasize the ‘see something, say something’ idea to students.
‘Statistically, we know that the odds are this won’t happen here,’ Richards said. ‘But, data is a cold comfort if you are from the school in Kentucky or Florida.’
Also during the meeting, the board accepted the resignation of full-time custodian Robin Murphy, high school special education teacher Susan Isbell (retiring) and high school instructional assistant Vickie Fessel.
The board also appointed Tony Waynescott as assistant varsity softball coach; Christy Hall, JV softball coach; Scott Gerlach, high school volunteer softball coach; Regina Luallen, high school dance sponsor; Austin Davis and Evan Longacre, high school volunteer golf assistants; Kailey Adams, elementary temporary contract for Cassie Anderson (maternity leave); and Justin Smith, maintenance.